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Go bananas! Festival time in Twin Cities almost here

Go bananas! Festival time in Twin Cities almost here
Go bananas! Festival time in Twin Cities almost here | Go bananas! Festival time in Twin Cities almost here
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
It’s almost time for the Twin Cities to go bananas.
This year’s event in Fulton and South Fulton will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Banana Festival and will feature the theme “The Banana Festival 1962-2012: A Tradition So Old It’s Gold!”
The Banana Festival’s history in the Twin Cities dates back to the late 1800s when Fulton was home to a large railroad facility and became a redistribution point because of its central location between New Orleans and Canada.
Bananas were shipped from South America by ship to New Orleans and loaded onto railcars on top of huge blocks of ice for the trip north. At the time, Fulton had the only ice house on the route north to Chicago and the bananas were re-iced with blocks from the former Fulton Ice Plant.
At one point, over 70 percent of the bananas consumed in the U.S. passed through Fulton and the city became known as “The Banana Capital of the World.”
This year’s 50th anniversary Banana Festival will be highlighted by concerts by Joe Diffie and Buddy Jewell, along with dozens of events that range from a banana bake-off, “banana diva” fashion show and a kiddie parade to “banana brawl” wrestling, a golf tournament, a 5K race and a car show.
Of course, there will also be a banana split eating contest and a grand parade which traditionally features a giant banana pudding.
Events are set for Sept. 21-29 — but now is the time when organizers are asking for the community’s support.
The deadline has been extended for 2012 Top Banana memberships, which are being sold for $100 per individual or $150 per couple.
Members receive recognition in the Banana Festival souvenir programs, reserved seating at all concerts and the fashion show, bandstand seating for the parade and special parking. In addition, they receive a “Top Banana” T-shirt and complimentary tickets to the Banana Ball, with special recognition there.
The Banana Ball will be held Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at Buck’s Celebration Center and will feature food, drinks and entertainment. The black-tie optional event will serve as the unofficial kick-off for the week’s festivities and, with music from the Nashville band Lipstick Blonde, promises “a night of dancing, friends and fun,” organizers said.
Without a Top Banana membership, tickets to the ball will be $50 per individual or $75 per couple.
For more information about becoming a Top Banana, contact Sarah Hutchins at (270) 472-5111 or Gregory Cox at (270) 472-1612.
For more information about all of the festival events, visit the website www.thebananafestival.com or call the Fulton Tourism office at (270) 472-9000.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.20.12

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