Being our seventh year and it being the year of the Ox according to the Chinese calendar, lucky number seven and the Ox symbolizing "hardworking and friendly" attributes, our festival is in great position to move ahead.
Our theme this year, "Are ya' Reddy for some Popcorn?" shows our party of the popcorn continues even with the recession days ahead.
Our goal is to provide as much free entertainment during these hard times that you and your family can do without costing you a dime. We are giving away free popcorn, free events for children, free admission to our bands and free musical events for all.
We will offer familiar contests such as the world's only Redenbacher look-alike contest, Popcorn Eating contests, Popcorn Recipe contests and much more.
So what is new this year?
The festival is pleased to offer on Saturday, a living statue/mime (A.K.A., Mark Abbati) that has studied under the famous French mime Marcel Marceau. Even though Marcel wanted Mark to work for him, Mark started his own company called joyUNSPEAKABLE productions, out of Columbus, Ohio. He will provide some motionless poses and convincing costumes (the Strolling Farmer) that will amaze you and make you wonder if he is real or a statue. His pose with running water turns this Strolling Farmer statue into a stationary fountain. Mark has performed for Jerry Seinfeld and President Ronald Reagan. It's a must see.
We are happy to continue our relationship with Luehr's Rides and Carnival, which was voted as one of the nation's top five carnivals and is noted as being clean, wholesome and family-oriented.
They will start their festivities Thursday night, just one day ahead of the Popcorn Festival itself, and continue through Sunday.
We continue with the same tribute bands (free admissions) that we had last year and include Terry Lee and Rock-a-Boogie Band Friday, Blue Moon Swamp (Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute) Saturday and Seven Bridges (Eagles tribute) Sunday. Open the link to each one for a run down of the tribute bands listed on our website at www.popcornfest.net.
As many of you know, our festival has been featured twice on the Food Network. Last year, our second filming for Sunny Anderson's Summer Eats and Treats was shown this year with a huge response. On the first night of the showing on Food Network, we had 25 calls asking about our festival as far as Alabama, Michigan and Connecticut. One particular call from a Connecticut resident named Hillary Weiss was a big surprise. She decided to surprise her boyfriend Christian with a trip to our festival this year since his birthday is Oct. 4. So, why does she want to bring him here? Christian loves Orville Redenbacher popcorn. The festival plans a big reception for Hillary and Christian with a meet-and-greet and surprises, which will be announced later.
This year has taken a toll on our festival as sponsorships are down by two-thirds compared to previous years. This was expected since many other festivals have had or will have the same problem. Our goal for next year is to change how we do things and come up with other money-making events that will allow us to bring in more money to keep the festival going.
At this time, our board and members plans to fight to keep the organization and festival going. Our hope is to bring in some people who can help us with money-making events to support the festival's goals. Meetings have already started.
The festival is looking for new sponsors and if you would like to participate, let us know and take advantage of our "Popcorn Perks Program," and what it can do for you as a business, sponsor or organization.
Last but not least, our festival continues to bring on volunteers who make the event a huge success.
We could not do this without their dedication and friendly faces. In their spare time, they volunteer to call, run, e-mail, attend meetings -- they are problem solvers and idea-creators.
They put all they can into bringing this community the best Popcorn Festival on Earth.