Sixth annual Chingawassa Days kicks off Friday

“A little something for everyone” is the goal for volunteers working to make Marion’s Chingawassa Days something special that reaches all age levels and tastes.

In its sixth year, Chingawassa Days will run from Friday, May 31, to Sunday June 2, at Central Park in Marion.

“It’s an opportunity to get out of the house, come down to the park and have something that makes life in Marion just a little more enjoyable,” said Mike Powers, chief judge of the 8th Judicial District and co-chair of the festival concert committee.

Activities will range from the traditional ice cream socials and canoe races to the out-of-the-ordinary Chinese acrobats and anvil shoots.

This year’s Saturday evening concert will feature a nationally known recording group-38 Special.

Two different festival admission buttons are sold at participating businesses, local banks and the grocery store.

A round button admits festival goers into the park for every event except the Saturday-evening concerts. The cost $10 after May 25.

A square concert button includes admission to the concerts in addition to the same events as the round button. That cost is $25 after May 25.

Promoters are also offering a group discount-groups of 20 or more get $2 off either button.

Most events in the park are included in the price of the button, but there will be certain activities that require a minimal additional charge.

“Some of the things that we do charge in addition to the button, people need to keep in mind that the extra events would be a lot more expensive but are subsidized to keep prices down,” Powers said.

The festival mascot-Pete the Rhino-appears on festival buttons this year with an updated ensemble.

Friday schedule

A complete listing of events and times will be available during the festival, but the following is a list of many of the activities beginning at 5 p.m. Friday:

Amusements by Celebrations-kids’ and teens’ activities such as an obstacle course, moon walk and mechanical bull ride. An additional cost of $7 for a Friday wrist band is required and will be available at Gene’s Travel in Marion;

Marion National Bank Barbecue-barbecue sandwiches, baked beans, chips and drinks available and sponsored by the bank;

St. Luke Hospital Ice Cream Social-different flavors of ice cream served in bowls, served by hospital staff and sponsored by the hospital;

Karoke Contest-takes place in the park on the big stage and requires preregistration. Competition will be in two age groups with three cash prizes awarded in each group;

Southwestern Bell Corp. Presents “Synergy” A Dance in the Park-a Wichita band whose performances range from classic rock to contemporary blues and country. The group currently performs in Olde Towne in Wichita.

Saturday schedule

Saturday is saturated with a full day of events such as the following in the morning:

Kiwanis Pancake Feed-pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee at an additional cost. The event is sponsored by the Marion Kiwanas;

Chinese Acrobats-a brief performance in the morning and a full performance in the afternoon. “Expect something like you’ve never seen before,” Cooper said;

Attorney General’s Cup Canoe Races-Carla Stovall, attorney general and Marion native, is scheduled to present trophies to the winners of this event. Contestants race in canoes on Luta Creek and each category winner gets a canoe paddle engraved with a plaque;

Horseshoe Pitching Tournament-register at 7:30 a.m. for this activity for all ages. In this round-robin format, entrants pay to participate and winners will share the prize money;

Anvil Shoot-a demonstration by Dynamite Wanda and her sons. A full size anvil is positioned on top of another anvil-with peanut butter and dynamite in between-and shot into the air. The object is to see whose anvil lands closest to its original launching spot;

Sky Divers-a new event this year. A group of sky divers from El Dorado will parachute and land at the high school parking lot;

Tampa State Bank Bed Races-pre-registration required for a competitive bed race on Main Street using decorated hospital beds as race cars;

Chain Saw Artists-the Robinson family from Missouri will create wood sculptures using chain saws throughout the duration of the festival;

Mule Rides-for a small extra charge, cowboys and cowgirls of all ages can go for a trail ride in the park;

Food vendors-food booths will be set up displaying a variety of wares for sale at an additional cost;

Marion High School Jazz Ensemble-MHS jazz talent will perform their repertoire.

Saturday afternoon will unfold with more events such as the following:

Amusements by Celebration-different activities than Friday’s celebration. A Saturday wrist band for $8 is required and can be purchased from Gene’s Travel;

Vicky’s School of Dance Performance-Vicky Mohn’s protegees from 13 various dance groups will perform on a stage by the park gazebo;

Marion Equipment Pedal Tractor Pull-this is the real thing for young competitors. The winner will move on to a regional competition;

Central National Bank Watermelon Feed and Bingo-watermelon, bingo and prizes sponsored by the bank;

Mehndi Painter-temporary hand-painted tattoos for all ages at an additional cost of $2 each;

Wildlife and Parks Laser Gallery-controlled laser-target shooting sponsored by the Wildlife and Parks Department;

Local teen-band performances-local youth taking the stage to provide musical entertainment;

Two competitions sponsored by Midland Farm Services/Scully Estates-The Boot Race: contestants take off their shoes, race to a jumbled pile of shoes to find them, put them back on and race back to the finish line. Money in the Hay: contestants in various age groups look for loose change in a pile of hay in a timed race and are allowed to keep what they find.

The park closes at 5 p.m. Saturday and reopens at 5:30 p.m. to admit only concert button holders for the following events:

Chain Saw Art Auction-festival enthusiasts will have an opportunity to bid on chain-saw art created during the event;

Trent Summar & The New Row Mob-as seen on Country Music Television, national recording artists from Nashville will perform their signature rockabilly for 75 minutes;

38 Special-a Southern rock group from the 1980s and a strong crowd favorite will begin playing at 9 p.m. for a 75-minute performance.

The concert attendance last year for the group Three Dog Night was estimated at 2,000, and Powers said he hoped to see that same figure or higher this year.

Sunday schedule

The final event of the Chingawassa Days weekend will start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning with a community-wide nondenominational church service.

A community praise band will play Christian music followed by spiritual speaker Jan Hayen at 11 a.m.

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