What started as an exploratory meeting in February of 2003 by the Preservation Association, Kiwanis, Historical Society, and other interested groups and citizens has become a Popcorn Festival. The festival honors Clay County's own, Orville Redenbacher, whose name is only second to Colonel Sanders when it comes to entrepreneurs of food. Seven months later, it's a reality and the event list is full of activities that will please about anyone who likes to attend fall festivals. After many donations from local businesses and a large contribution by ConAgra Foods (Redenbacher brand), President Evelyn Brown was pleased that this Festival will go as planned and become an annual event for this county. She states that "our goal is to promote our community, our non-profit organizations, businesses, and wonderful citizens that make this county great and to boost the economy."
Although the exploratory committee was short-lived, it became imperative that the festival team needed to organize quickly, elect officers, select committees, and start the "popcorn ball" rolling and determine what was needed to get the festival going. In February, officers were elected as follows: Evelyn Brown, president, Diane Dierdorf, vice-president, Janie Krecker, secretary, and Rose Mary Price, treasurer. In addition, several committees and heads were nominated.
The many committees felt that the Popcorn Festival and single events would benefit eachother to bring monies in for individual organizations, businesses, non- and for-profit groups. The organizations that participated would keep their profit from their events. It was decided that the festival will be held the first weekend of October.
Other exciting news came about when it was announced that the Popcorn Festival will be in the State of Indiana's Guide of Festivals for 2004. In addition, brochures are available to promote the festival that could be used as handouts or placed in rest areas to promote the event. Also, T-shirts of the festival will be on sale at the park to help raise money for next year's festival.
One of the many hurdles was to contact the mayor's office, city officials, county commissioners, city councils, park boards, churches, veterans groups, etc. to get permission and support for the festival. Although, many organizations and citizens who gave their blessings, it was the park board who spent the most time with the Festival Team to get permission to use the park. Their tremendous help and support was greatly appreciated. Without their support, it would never have become reality.
The Kiwanis Day Parade will kick off the second day of activities following their pancake breakfast in the Pavilion. It offers the same great entertainment as before with a new twist. Many of the Redenbacher Family will be in attendance for this as well as other activities in the park during the festival.
Besides the entertainment, the festival team agreed that advertising was a key to this year's success of festival and agreed to put emphasis in that area. With media remotes and advertisements as primary manner to promote the festival; other forms of media included billboards, banners, and brochures. It was soon becoming a well-advertised event. The Festival Team asked many organizations, non-profit groups, and for-profit businesses to participate in the festival could do so by getting a free 10 ft. x 10 ft. booth space free for this year only. This was done to assure that the festival would be successful its first year. For those wanting more information, you may email Glen and Evelyn Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org for a contract and any information. A refundable deposit will be asked to assure attendance.
In order to assure that the festival was advertised, the festival team decided to develop a Website that would list the events, Redenbacher biography, map, special links to entertainment and WSDM and press releases. Anyone can go on line to www.popcornfest.net to get daily updates and festival information on the festival.
Among the many free events was the movie for children at the Walnut Theatre in Brazil. Any child can attend a free showing of "Shrek" and get free popcorn. In addition, one girl and one boy will have a chance to win a bike for showing up.
The community support was fabulous. Sadly, some events have to be postponed until next year since these couldn't be fit into this year's calendar. However, Evelyn Brown promises to make every effort to add other events even if it means having multiple events at the same time or extending the festival. However, booth spaces are still available for anyone who wishes to take advantage of the free offer.
It was felt that the entertainment would be important to the success of this festival and it was felt that the main show would be "Forever the Tribute: Salute to Beatles" group that has been successful throughout the United States. It's free to the public and is expected to be a big draw.. This show was one of the most highly appraised bands in the area. Glen Brown, Publicity Committee, stated that his contacts with other Festivals in the Midwest have agreed that this show is a huge crowd pleaser. In addition, the Fabulous 40s Dance Band directed by Bill Morthlund at the Victorian Ball in the courthouse rotunda was a local crowd pleaser. Many local talents will be present throughout the Festival to entertain the citizens and guests.
For more information, contact Glen and Evelyn Brown at 812.448.2307 or go on-line for schedule of events and biography of Orville Redenbacher at www.popcornfest.net