The Popcorn Festival of Clay County is still serving up fun and free popcorn after 10 years and it feels good to have made it to this milestone, according to festival members.
For Clay County, the festival promotes and honors Orville Redenbacher and the popcorn that he and Charles Bowman developed and marketed many years ago.
The county event has grown from a three-day to four-day festival and has become so large that the music portion has moved into a Cornstock Music Fest, which highlights the festival's musical talents of local, regional and nationally known bands.
It is now one of the many festivals exceeding two days or more in Indiana.
This year, the festival will run Oct. 4-7, at Forest Park.
When the festival was conceived in 2002 for its grand opening in 2003, it was hard to realize all the changes it has made and how it has grown in both size and attendance.
It now receives around 18,000-20,000 attendees each year from all over the country.
There are many events that make the festival a success, including the Orville Redenbacher look-a-like contest, Farmer Ron's Amazing Fieldtrip and coloring contests, the Indiana Army National Guard's Rock Wall and equipment display, the 138th Quartermaster mini-boot camp and Radio Disney.
Members of the Redenbacher family will be on hand again this year to judge the look-a-like contest.
The historic log cabins at Forest Park are also open for visits.
Events such as Pop-In and Run Cancer Out of Town 5K, conducted by Relay For Life, and the 5R Electronics Recycling event will also be available.
Registration for the 5K run will take place at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Forest Park Pavilion. The event will begin at 8 a.m.
The recycling event will take place near the main entrance.
Local dance studios, Toni's Dance, Moore's Dance and Tumble Express will take the stage Thursday, Oct. 4, to open the festival.
The dance shows will take place in conjunction with a Country Rhodes Dinner, including all-you-can-eat fish, chicken, shrimp, vegetables and drinks.
Desserts will be available at an additional cost.
All dinner proceeds will go to the Clay Community Skate Park.
The carnival, provided by Luehr's Ideal Rides, will also open Thursday, Oct. 4.
This year, the Girl Scouts of Clay County will plant a time capsule near the historic cabins, Friday, Oct. 5, to commemorate the festival.
In addition, the festival will offer its first Pop-It-In Golf Putting Contest.
Cost is $1 per shot or six shots for $5, which tests the ability of putters to get a hole-in-one to move up to the final playoffs Sunday, Oct. 7, and win a cash prize.
Several vendors will also raffle off events, including $250, one-half of a butchered pig with a freezer, and more.
Mark Abatti will be on hand again bringing to life characters he portrays.
The Cornstock Music Fest will begin Friday, Oct. 4, with cover band Big Daddy Caddy and feature band Corey Cox. Both are nationally known.
Cox was featured at the Super Bowl as a main attraction, where he sang the national anthem.
Cox is an upcoming country singer who has his own following.
Tribute bands such as Blue Moon Swamp (a Credence Clearwater Revival tribute band) and Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd tribute) add to the mix as well this year.
Local bands have been a part of the festival for several years.
This year, local bands performing will include the Good Feelings Band, Lemon Brothers, Carter, 15th and Hulman, Dickey James and the Blue Flames and Ida Mae Sheriff.
For a complete event list, as well as to print out an application for the Relay For Life 5K run and more information on the 5R Electronic Recycling event, log on www.popcornfest.net.
Those interested in having a craft or food vendor area should contact the Popcorn Festival of Clay County Vendor Committee through the website, where contracts and guidelines are listed.