‘Bunches’ of fun in store for annual Banana Festival

‘Bunches’ of fun in store for annual Banana Festival
‘Bunches’ of fun in store for annual Banana Festival | ‘Bunches’ of fun in store for annual Banana Festival
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
The Banana Festival promises “bunches” of fun this year in the Twin Cities.
Eight full days of fun which start late next week in Fulton and South Fulton will be topped off with free concerts by country music stars Joe Diffie and Buddy Jewell.
This year’s theme is “The Banana Festival 1962-2012: A Tradition So Old It’s Gold!”
The popular festival — a nod to the Twin Cities’ once being known as “the Banana Capital of the World” because of the bananas shipped through by rail car — has a wide variety of events which will a-“peel” to people of all ages.
Family-friendly events range from the traditional banana split eating contest and giant one-ton banana pudding to such unique events as Banana Brawl wrestling and a banana bonnet contest. In between, the festivities include parades, games, a carnival, musical entertainment and even a grand ball to kick off the fun.
Specific information about every event — as well as any registration forms and fees — can be found online at www.thebananafestival.com.
To cap off the fun, Diffie will take the stage at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at the stage in Pontotoc Park in downtown Fulton, while the concert by Jewell will begin at 8 the previous night, Sept. 28, at the Pontotoc stage.
Diffie’s discography includes nine studio albums, two compilation albums and 35 singles. Among his albums, 1993’s “Honky Tonk Attitude” and 1994’s “Third Rock From the Sun” are his best-selling, being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of one million copies.
His singles include five No. 1 hits on the Hot Country Songs charts — “Home,” his debut single, as well as “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Pickup Man” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.” His other popular songs include “It’s Always Somethin’,” “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” and “John Deere Green.”
Jewell quickly rose to fame in 2003 as the first winner of USA Network’s “Nashville Star.” He has boasted such hits as “Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey’s Song)” and “Sweet Southern Comfort.”
Among the other “bunch-es” of Banana Festival events planned this year are:
Sept. 21
• School art contest — All day, Fulton and South Fulton city schools.
• Light pole competition judging — Noon, downtown Twin Cities ($25 per pole).
• Store front decorating contest judging — 5 p.m., downtown Twin Cities.
Sept. 22
• Cemetery Walk — 4-6 p.m., Fairview Cemetery in Fulton (rain date will be Sept. 23).
• Grand Banana Ball/Top Banana recognition — 7 p.m., Buck’s Celebration Center on West State Line in South Fulton ($75 per couple or $50 per person, with all profits donated to the Banana Festival).
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first festival in 1962, the Grand Banana Ball will kick off the week of festivities.
The black-tie optional affair replaces the usual private reception at the Fulton Country Club for Top Bananas, who will be guests of honor and receive complimentary tickets. Entertainment will be provided by Nashville-based band Lipstick Blonde.
Top Banana memberships — for leaders in the community who support the festival monetarily as well as through attendance and participation — are being sold for $100 per individual or $150 per couple. There were 70 to 75 Top Bananas last year and organizers hope to top 120 this year, according to co-chair Dr. Gregory Cox.
For more information about becoming a Top Banana or the ball, contact Sarah Hutchins at (270) 472-5111 or Cox at (270) 472-1612.
Sept. 23
• Baby Mr. & Miss to Miss Banana pageants (ages 0-19) — starting at 1 p.m. at Fulton High School ($25 entry fee).
Sept. 24
• Banana bonnet contest — 5 p.m., the Keg in downtown Fulton (entry cut-off at 4:45).
• Fashion show — 6:30 p.m., Buck’s Celebration Center on West State Line ($20 per advance ticket, available at Cissy’s and The Leader Store in Fulton, or $150 for a table of eight; $25 per ticket at the door).
Sept. 25
• Banana split eating contest — 4 p.m., Pappy’s Restaurant on Broadway in South Fulton.
• Bunco — 6 p.m., the Keg in downtown Fulton ($10 per ticket).
• Dogfest (hot dog eating contest) — 6 p.m., Pontotoc stage in downtown Fulton ($10 entry fee for ages 13 and older).
Sept. 26
• Greased pig contest — 5 p.m., corner of Washington and Main streets (former Huddleston’s) in downtown Fulton.
• Faith & Family Night — 6-7:30 p.m., Pontotoc stage in downtown Fulton (inside Pontotoc if it rains).
Sept. 27
• Vendors — starting at 9 a.m., downtown Fulton.
• Senior citizens Rook tournament — 9 a.m., senior citizens center in downtown Fulton.
• Church bean supper — 5 p.m., Pontotoc Building in downtown Fulton ($4 per plate).
• Great American Shows Carnival — 5-10 p.m., behind Fulton Post Office downtown (ticket booth).
• Kiddie Parade — 6 p.m., downtown Fulton.
• Banana ping pong tournament (doubles) — 6-9 p.m., Coach’s (former Huddleston’s building) in downtown Fulton.
• Fulton’s Got Talent — 7 p.m., stage at Pontotoc Park.
Sept. 28
• Banana Bake-off entry drop-off — 7:30-9 a.m., senior citizens center in downtown Fulton.
• Banana Bake-off judging begins — 9 a.m., senior citizens center.
• Health fair — 8-10 a.m., Pontotoc Building in downtown Fulton.
• Vendors — starting at 9 a.m., downtown Fulton.
• Golf luncheon — 11 a.m., Fulton Country Club.
• Golf scramble — Noon shotgun start, Fulton Country Club (four-person co-ed, $200 for a team of four).
• Senior citizens concessions/fundraiser — 3-9 p.m., senior citizens center.
• Great American Shows Carnival — 5-10 p.m., behind Fulton Post Office downtown (ticket booth).
• Children’s Olympics — 5:30 p.m., lot at corner of Third and Carr streets (old hospital lot) in downtown Fulton.
• Fulton’s Got Talent winner’s performance — 7:30 p.m., stage at Pontotoc Park downtown.
• Buddy Jewell concert — 8 p.m., stage at Pontotoc Park downtown.
Sept. 29
• Fulton/South Fulton Rotary Club car show entry registration — downtown Fulton ($20-$25 entry fee).
• Rotary Club car show — 8 a.m., downtown.
• 5K registration — starts at 8 a.m., Fulton First Baptist Church parking lot ($20 pre-registration).
• 5K shotgun start — 9 a.m., Fulton First Baptist Church parking lot.
• Vendors — starting at 9 a.m., downtown Fulton.
• Cornhole tournament registration — 9 a.m., the Keg in downtown Fulton ($40 per team).
• Pistol shoot — 9 a.m., Fulton Police Department firing range ($20 per class).
• Banana ping pong tournament (singles) — 9 a.m.-noon, Coach’s (former Huddleston’s building) in downtown Fulton.
• One-mile fun run (children ages 10 and younger) — 10 a.m., Fulton First Baptist Church parking lot ($10 pre-registration or $13 late registration).
• Cornhole tournament begins — 10 a.m., the Keg downtown ($40 per team).
• Senior citizens concessions/fundraiser — 10 a.m.-9 p.m., senior citizens center downtown.
• Oogie & Oodles Piddlepop clown show — 11 a.m., downtown Fulton.
• Great American Shows Carnival — Noon-10 p.m., behind Fulton Post Office downtown (ticket booth).
• Karaoke (all ages) — 1-3 p.m., downtown.
• Banana Brawl wrestling — 1 p.m., in South Fulton across from Fulton’s Pontotoc Park.
• Oogie & Oodles Piddlepop clown show — 3 p.m., bandstand in downtown Fulton.
• Grand parade — 5 p.m., downtown Twin Cities.
• Free banana pudding — after the parade, downtown.
• Joe Diffie concert — 8 p.m., stage at Pontotoc Park downtown.
Events are free to the public unless a participation fee is otherwise noted on the individual event.
All events are sponsored by the Fulton Tourism Commission, with the exception of the Banana Ball, and by many local businesses. For more information, contact 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 9.10.12

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