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Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?

Last post Mar 05, 2004 9:06 PM by KEF . 41 replies.


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  • Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    My husband and I have been part of our town's annual festival committee for most of the last 10 years and we would like some new ideas. It is held the last weekend in Sept. and tomorrow night is the first meeting of the year.
    We have a parade on Sunday which draws around 3000 people (about 3x the town's population).
    We have a few odd-but-interesting activities such as bed races, kiddie tractor pull, etc. but are looking for more. Also, I think this year's theme will have something to do with volunteers, but we need an actual title kind of like the Rose Bowl parade had with "Symphony of Service".

    We have a Talent Contest on Sunday evening which has become nothing but little girls dancing, so we need a way to diversify that, and need ideas for entertainment.
    Are you starting to get the impression that we have done this too long? If we don't recruit new volunteers, we may have to let this die out. We hate to do that because this is the main fundraising event for a lot of local organizations.
    Can you help with ideas.

    TIA, Karen
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    How about an area where local people can sell the products they produce. like artwork, pottery and such. Farmer's type market. People like to stroll and buy. While boating to different Islands here, we love going to those.
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    A city I used to live in had a big festival every year that included a big family-style street dance and cow-chip bingo.

    Cow-chip bingo is where you put a cow in a pen (about 30'X30') that has a grid painted on the grass under it. You buy a square for about $5/$10 and if the cow drops a "chip" in your square first, you win the pot!

    There were also a few other games. A greased pig chase (for different age groups) and a fire hose game. A cable was strung between two poles about 15-20 feet high and about 150-200 feet apart. An empty bucket was hung from the center of the cable. Two teams are standing on opposide sides, starting at the pole.

    The teams wear fireman's hats and coats and hold a firehose. At the start, both teams have the water turned on. The first team to push the empty bucket to the other side with the water from the firehose - wins!
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    I lived in a small town for half my life. They have a 5 & 10 K run to raise money. They also have a diaper race, a tricycle race and a bike race for the kids. The entry fee varies by age. How about a 3 legged race, those are usually fun to watch. This may sound silly, but go to www.pbskids.org and check out the Zoom website. It is set up for kids, but might give you some ideas for fun races or games to play. I know they have a race where they carry an egg on a spoon, or something similar to that. We also used to have a bbq contest. They had a rodeo (theme of the festival is Jesse James). I think they had a barn dance one year. I know they play mud or sand volleyball. Here is the link to ours, maybe it will give you some ideas. http://www.jessejamesfestival.com/
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    When I lived in Marquette we had a "chair-ity" auction to raise money for the Women's Center. Anyone could donate old chairs and anyone could pick them up and turn them into "works of art." It was alot of fun. The first year I did a "Chinese" chair (painted a small restaurant style chair bright red and painted dragons and plum blossoms up the legs and a phoenix on the back and roped the seat with coconut fiber) the second year I did a chair in country blue and painted a rookery on the seat and had penguins sliding off the back. Anyway this got the community involved long before the auction which made it such a success. Another year there was a delegation of people coming from Finland and the community again used donated chairs and painted them blue and white (flag colors) and placed them all over town for 'resting' spots.
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    Here is a list of things we have or have had:
    Fireman's waterball-didn't have last year, don't remember why
    Kids' olympics-baby crawl,bubble blowing and tug-of-war
    5Krun
    bed races
    kiddie tractor pull
    pancake breakfast
    street dance last year-storm blew through b, band continued to play on sheltered stage and all who remained took shelter in the building to which the stage was attached- someone in the neighborhood complained that band was too loud (they stopped playing at 10 PM)
    Little Miss and Mister contest
    Lighthouse parade
    kiddie parade
    Sunday morning community worship
    Sun. afternoon gospel sing
    parade
    adult talent show (not much response despite a lot of local talent)
    talent contest
    chili cook-off (not much response there either)
    Thanks for the replies so far. Keep thinkin'!
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    We go to several small town festivals durng the summer. The various activities include: Adult evening parade, morning kiddie parade, kid racing events includes running races and water balloon toss, carnival, closing main street with a band shell with bands for dancing, flea market, craft sale, bingo, Indian Pow-wows, sawdust scramble with coins for the kids, fireworks on special occasions 'cause they are expensive, softball tournament, firemen contests against neighboring towns, 5K run/walk, various baking/cooking contests including chili, wild rice & blueberries, ice cream social sometimes with pie,
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    Every day I’m shufflin’

  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    I heard of a town where, as part of the parade, kids decorated their bikes, rode along, and they judged which ones were best.
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    Another year they made totem poles. Any organization, business, family etc could purchase a pole (like a small telephone pole) and turn it into there own 'totem.' They then lined the city park with them for the summer and afterwards, returned to their owners, who then planted in yards and at businesses all over town. People got very creative! There were family trees and schools represented and the mining industry. These were projects that made people really look forward to the event which made them so successful.
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    penguinfan, can you describe the sawhorse ridin' and ropin' for me?
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    ichabod, I like the "chairity" and totem ideas!
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    We have a mud volleyball tourney; kids and adult teams standing in about 8" of water playing vball. Last year over Labor day it was only about 55°; hopefully this year will be better!!
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    I have to reply in short bursts 'cause I keep getting interupted. Orisleuth, how much sawdust for the coin scramble? Can you elaborate on the firemens' contests? Honest April, I like the fireman's thing. We hadn't thought of a "civilian's" water contest with a bucket. The firemen have done their waterball contest tho'. Thanks!
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    Has anyone ever seen wooly worm races? Someone said that they bite so it wouldn't be good idea. I've never been bitten, have you?
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  • RE: Anyone have new ideas for small-town festivals?
    Can you rent a "dunk tank" somewhere? Those are usually popular. Put the mayor on it or other "celebrities" from the town.

    A silent auction.

    A BBQ rib cook off.

    Maybe entertainment could be some local bands that would be willing to donate time....kids that have little garage bands can get their name out this way.

    Chef
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