Fall Festival gets under way Saturday with parade, Starnite

By PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

Sept 7, 2007 - The 2007 Hopkins County Fall Festival gets going Saturday with the annual kickoff parade, while this year's Cover Girl contestants will be officially be introduced during the Randy Rogers Starnite concert at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center at 8 p.m. 

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

2006 Fall Festival Cover Girl Helena Wall (sitting) and this year's Cover Girl contestants (left to right) Kayla Williams, Chesley McGlamery, Zabrina Willhite, Shelby Blezinger, Dionna Ugalde, Sommer Gregory and Ariel Darden will take part in the Fall Festival Parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Saturday's other events include the Trades Day on the Civic Center grounds and the 42 tournament at the Civic Center, both beginning at 1 p.m, followed by the Gospel Songest at 3 p.m.

The week's events conclude Saturday, Sept. 15, with the World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest and the Duck Downs race.

�Preparations are under way for the large number of people expected to attend the stew contest, which should be bigger than ever.

"We have 121 stew cookers this year — that's a record number," said Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce President Billy Sam Elliott. "We're hoping for a record number of eaters, too."

The morning of the stew cook-off visitors can begin purchasing tickets on the grounds at 9 a.m., service tents open at 10:45 a.m. and stew will begin being served around 11 a.m.

Immediately after the stew contest winners are announced, the Duck Race will take place with the winner receiving $500, second place $250, third place $100, and $50 going to the "lame duck" that comes in last.

Tickets for the Duck Race can be purchased throughout the week at the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, local banks, as well astomorrow's Fall Festival Parade, which leaves from Buford Park at 10 a.m. and follows the traditional parade route.

"Roving ticket sellers will be making their way through the crowds along the parade route," Elliott explained. 

Charles Dawson's Texas Trading Company will be sponsoring this year's public trolley transportation to ferry people to the Fall Festival events on Saturday, Sept. 15. The trolley will begin making its rounds at 8 a.m. and continuing until 2 p.m. Designated pick-up locations are on the downtown square, VF Factory Outlet parking lot and the Early Childhood Learning Center.

New to the Fall Festival and stew contest will be a 20- foot by 40-foot tent set up to accommodate the elderly, disabled and handicapped who need a shady spot to eat their stew or simply take a break from the day's events. 

It will be located across the footbridge near the Chamber office, according to Elliott, who said temperatures are expected to be 10 degrees cooler than in the past years.

"So far, even the weather's cooperating," laughed Elliott. "It's been awfully hot in the past."

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