It's been a hectic four months, but the Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Festival is becoming more of a reality each day. The enthusiasm from the non-profit organizations, businesses and community has really been positive for this festival which will be centrally located at Forest Park in Brazil with satellite activities throughout the county. This three-day event, the first of its kind in Clay County, will be Oct. 3-5, 2003. What was originally set to be a one-day festival has turned into a three-day event.
"The officers and steering committee members have been meeting every two weeks to put this festival together and have made tremendous strides in making this festival a success," said President Evelyn Brown. "With the increase of community support, vendors and activities planned, the festival is growing into an event that will accent the positive attributes of this county. At this time, the officers and board members are meeting each week to assure that legal paperwork is done, the activities are on the agenda, activity chairpersons are nominated, insurance coverage planned and vendor contracts signed prior to the event. We couldn't do it without the many dedicated people who are volunteering their free time to make this event successful for Clay County."
Some of the events that have been scheduled so far include: K-Day parade, K-Day pancake breakfast at the park, food and craft vendors, antique auction and appraisals, 5-K run, carriage rides, Orville Redenbacher look-alike contest, landmark tours, refreshments throughout and musical entertainment in the Forest Park Band Shell. Other activities that are being considered include golf scramble, baseball or softball tournaments, gospel music, fireworks and a pig roast. To kick this festival off on Friday evening, Oct. 3; a Victorian Popcorn Ball is planned in the rotunda of the Clay County Courthouse which is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Mary Jo Alumbaugh will serve as chairperson for this event and will be putting together the details for the Victorian Popcorn Ball. It is believed that this event will be the first of its kind in this area, if not the state. At this time, the Popcorn Ball will host period Victorian costumes and music for the event. The Clay County Commissioners have already approved the use of the Court House for this event and it promises to be fun and entertaining to those who will attend. One theme on all activities throughout the festival is that some form of popcorn must be served.
In addition, the Park Board has given permission for use of Forest Park as the central hub of activities for the Popcorn Festival. At this time, finalization of the contract is being done and should be ready for signature within the next week. Also, the Popcorn Festival organization has applied for its own 501(c)3 tax exemption from the federal government. The final Articles of Incorporation has been created and signed by all the representatives and officers of the Festival. ConAgra Foods Redenbacher's parent company, has also been contacted about this festival. The organization is hopeful that they will approve and support this festival which honors their founder and our fellow Clay Countian, Orville Redenbacher.
The Popcorn Festival is open for other activities from non-profit organizations, restaurants, sports clubs, youth leagues, businesses, individuals or any other group that may want to set up during the three-day event. Although groups from Clay County will have first choice, activities from the region will be accepted if spots are available. Please contact the Popcorn Festival to get approval so it does not override other similar or already planned activities and we can advertise your event. These activities will need to be, for the most part, self-maintained and self-sufficient since personnel on the committees are now busy with other activities.
The Festival wants to offer vendor space at the park. As part of our Mission Statement, first choice is to give non-profit organizations an opportunity to set up to make money for their organizations. One of the main goals of this Popcorn Festival is to promote the many non-profit organizations that make such a wonderful difference in our community. However, for-profit vendors are welcome to be a part of this Festival also. At this time, we have over 20 vendors planned to sign contracts with many others coming on board each week. However, if a non-profit organization wants to only promote itself, that is acceptable too. We encourage all Clay County organizations and businesses, non-profit or for-profit, to contact us for free booth space that is still available. In addition, we are asking that anyone outside the county who wishes to sign up for free vendor space to contact us and sign a contract to reserve a space for the Festival. Since this is our first year, the Festival is offering free booth space if you sign up as soon as possible. However, the Festival will gladly accept any financial donations which will be used to finance and promote Popcorn Festival 2004. If you or someone you know wishes to sign up for free booth space, please contact Nancy Withers at 442-0021, Janie Krecker at (812) 939-2027 (Clay City area) or Evelyn Brown at 448-2307.
The Popcorn Festival is asking for volunteers since it has grown tremendously and would like to offer a chance for anyone to be on the ground floor of this exciting new adventure. In addition, we are looking for financial donations from businesses and organizations to help support our efforts to advertise, buy supplies and pay for insurance and similar things needed for the Festival. Please contact Glen and Evelyn Brown at 448-2307 if you wish to become a volunteer or to make a donation for the Festival.