‘A Tradition So Old It’s Gold’: Banana Festival a fun-filled event

‘A Tradition So Old It’s Gold’: Banana Festival a fun-filled event
‘A Tradition So Old It’s Gold’: Banana Festival a fun-filled event | ‘A Tradition So Old It’s Gold’: Banana Festival a fun-filled event
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
It’s fun that will a“peel” to all ages.
The Banana Festival has officially kicked off in Fulton and South Fulton.
The popular celebration — 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 — this year features an anniversary theme of “The Banana Festival 1962-2012: A Tradition So Old It’s Gold!”
Nine consecutive days of events kicked off over the weekend and the festival will swing into high gear this week with dozens of activities that will culminate with free concerts by country music stars Buddy Jewell and Joe Diffie on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.
Several events have already been held since Friday’s start of the festivities, including a school art contest, light pole and store front decorating contests, a cemetery walk, the Grand Banana Ball and Top Banana recognition, pageants for ages birth to 19, a banana bonnet contest and a fashion show.
Festival chairman Christie Rodgers said the turnout so far has been excellent and the excitement for the 50th anniversary edition of activities is building.
“I am thrilled,” she said today. “It has just been unbelievable, the turnout of people that we’ve had and the support that we’ve had — not just from Fulton and South Fulton, but from the surrounding cities.”
Mrs. Rodgers said 170 people attended Saturday night’s Grand Banana Ball to kick off the festivities. Then, there were 106 entries in Sunday’s pageants and “the house was packed,” followed by a crowd of 190 spectators and 75 models for Monday night’s fashion show.
“It’s been an excellent turnout,” she said. “And it just keeps growing and growing — the excitement and the participation.”
She said she is continuing to receive applications for Saturday night’s grand parade, which will roll through the Twin Cities starting at 5 p.m. and will feature the traditional one-ton banana pudding afterward.
“The parade applications are still coming in like crazy,” Mrs. Rodgers said, explaining she has roughly 30 floats and 60 vehicles scheduled to participate, as well as a military marching band from Fort Campbell.
“The Banana Festival has just taken off this year,” she added. “It’s the 50th birthday and everybody is very excited about that.”
Specific information about every Banana Festival event — as well as any registration forms and fees — can be found online at www.thebananafestival.com.
The events which remain this week and into the weekend include:
Today
• Banana split eating contest — 4 p.m., Pappy’s Restaurant (old Dairy Queen) 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).
Wednesday
• 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).
Thursday
• 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.
Friday
• 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 shot gun 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.
Saturday
• 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.
Events are sponsored by  Fulton Tourism Commission and many local businesses. For more information, contact the Fulton Tourism office at (270) 472-9000.
Published in The Messenger 9.25.12

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