The Popcorn Festival is ready and will offer many free events and free popcorn as before. The Festival's mission statement to promote our county and its people plus provide a venue for our non-profit organizations to promote themselves; it looks like we have another fun-filled, event-filled Festival ready for the Wabash Valley.
Craft and food vendors will be set up at Forest Park. The Rock Wall Climb and Eurobungy will be back to delight and will require ticket purchases. The one-and-only Orville Look-alike Contest sponsored by Dr. Charles French and staff will continue to be a key event for the Festival and will feature a $500 prize. The judges this year will be Redenbacher family members. The Laser Light Show, sponsored by Vectren, Cinergy, and the Festival, was a success last year and returns for two shows to open the Festival on Friday night. The Laser Light Show stuns the eyes and ears as laser lights dance with music above your heads in a layer of fog. This year we will feature carnival rides presented by Wabash Valley Shows for which tickets must be purchased. Once again, Mark Adamson from Aerial Arts will be presenting a Fireworks Display on Saturday night which is always a favorite event.
The Lion's Club of Brazil is back for its second annual Bed Race. This event was a crowd pleaser and offers to be more exciting as the teams are even more serious than ever before to win the coveted first place championship spot. The festival welcomes back the Literacy Activity Day on Saturday sponsored by the LEAPP Center. This event for children offers all kinds of activities in both Clay City and Brazil. A free movie and free popcorn will be scheduled for Clay City Elementary and Brazil's Walnut Theatre. Other children's activities include Mad Cap Puppets show, Petting Zoo and Straw Maze by Ron Scherb Farms, and a Kids Harvest Party in the Pavilion. Of course, the festival is pleased to also welcome Wendy, McGruff Crime Fighting Dog, and Sparky Fire Prevention Dog characters to greet the children.
New also is the Colts-In-Motion Traveling Museum at Forest Park on Friday night. This unique show will feature Indianapolis Colts paraphernalia, player's equipment, and historical items for those Monday Night Football fans. The Elk's Lodge is a new sponsor and is presenting a popcorn eating contest where local celebrities will eat themselves into the annals of popcorn history. Celebrities include Mayor Tom Arthur, Detective Marty Beasley, Drs. Michael and Julie Shaw, City Clerk Treasurer Tracy Webster, Fire Chief Toby Archer, Sheriff Mike Heaton, Riddell Bank's Robin Swalls, YMCA Director Chad Zaucha, as well as others who wish to remain anonymous at this time. Following the contest, the Elks will feature music by Roughcut which has opened for American Idol star Josh Gracin. This year, we are doing something very unusual but something that was done years ago. Sponsored by L & S Farms, free haircuts for children at the swimming pool shelter will be given by T. G. Timberman and Jamie Ward.
New this year, will be the Civil War Historical Re-enactors from the 18th Indiana Light Artillery and 49th Indiana Dismounted Cavalry. Both units will set up encampments and put on Civil War demonstrations. The festival is pleased to also welcome Strain and Fleenor Surrey Rides who will offer rides for a small fee. A new item this year to the Festival is chainsaw sculptors from Loghoggers Inc. who has awed crowds with their wood-chip flying abilities in creating sculptures out of logs. Cook Lumber will furnish the wooden logs as well as sponsorship the Loghoggers. Approximately, four-five sculptures will be auctioned off each of the weekend days. Once again, the successful Classic Automobile Cruise-In featuring classic, nostalgic, and supped-up cars will be included. This year, the Festival will hand out between 50-100 dash plaques with our logo for the first 50-100 participants.
The festival is offering specialized events sponsored by various people and organizations which are free to the public. These events include Urmusic Pottery Artist Curt Buethe (sponsor Mayor Tom Arthur), Old-fashioned Soy Thread Weaver Peggy Taylor (sponsored by Festival), Longaberger Basket Weavers (sponsored by French Funeral Home), Old-fashioned Soap Maker Barbara Alberts (sponsored by Festival) and Blacksmith Michael Jean (sponsored by John Howe State Farm Insurance). Through these kind sponsorships, we can take a trip back and watch how these items are made. To accent these specialized events, the Historic Log Cabins will be open to display the Americana that our forefathers used to exist.
Sporting activities this year include kickball and softball tournaments sponsored by the YMCA of Clay County. The tournaments are expected to carry over on all three days. Anyone who wishes to participate can contact the YMCA of Clay County. Also, a favorite event, Dance Studio Performers from Toni's Dance Studio, YMCA Dance Factory, Tumble Express, and Moore's Dance Company will take center stage on Saturday. Another exciting event this year is the RE/MAX Homes and Land sponsorship of the hot-air balloon rides in the RE/MAX balloon that we see advertised in commercials. Donations received for the rides will be given to support the Festival.
The successful Oktoberfest and Beer Garten sponsored by American Legion Post 2 is being repeated this year. Authentic German food will be served and authentic costumes worn. In addition, The VonHuber Sauerkraut Band will provide authentic polka music to get your lederhosened legs moving to the beat. Later on, the Legion will be hosting the music group Ambush for the younger crowd.
Music is always a must at this Festival to liven up the crowds. This year is not any different. Besides those mentioned, the festival announces that music by BIGG Country Presenting the Robbie Helms Show will be on Saturday and is being sponsored by American Limestone. Also, Lady Luck sponsored by RJ's Former Wear and Luxury Limo Service will play on Sunday. This local band will open for the band Forever the Tribute: The Beatles which has delighted fans in the multi-state area.
This year, the festival will be giving away $250 on Sunday. You must be present to win. Everyone can fill out a ticket for the drawing anytime during the Festival at the Popcorn House. And as always, we will have free popcorn at the Popcorn House to give away. In addition, gourmet popcorn can be purchased throughout the park at food vendor booths.
Brochures of events will be available at key businesses and at the festival. If you wish to order booth space, contact Janie Krecker at 939-2027 or Nancy Withers at 442-0021. Late fees are being exempted this year to help defer gasoline costs.
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