2017 theme is ‘All Roads Lead to Bentonville’ –
By Patricia Beech –
Whiskers, pets, pageantry, and parades are among the attractions to be offered up next weekend at the 41st annual Bentonville Harvest Festival.
“We’ve tried to have fun events that the public will enjoy,” says festival organizer, Sue Naylor. “We’ve had to cut back our musical entertainment after Sunday’s auction, but I think folks will appreciate the activities and shows we’re offering this year.”
The theme for this year’s festival is “All Roads Lead to Bentonville” and the 2017 Grand Marshals chosen to lead Sunday’s parade are Harry and Alvena Davenport.
The festival opens Friday, Sept. 8 with a parade of pageantry that culminates with the crowning of the Festival Queen and her court. Competition begins at 6 p.m. for the Little Toddler Miss and Mister (ages 3-4); the Little Miss and Mister (ages 5-8); the Festival Princess (ages 9-12), and Junior Miss (ages 13-15). Registration for the pageants begins at 5 p.m. and the cost is $10.
Saturday kicks off with the 5K Run registration at 7:30 a.m. Runners should be in place at Union Church for the start of the race at 8:30 a.m.
The Craft and Flea Market Booths begin setting up at 8 a.m. and registration for the Baby Show begins at 9 a.m. and requires a $10 registration fee. Participating age groups include: 0-6 months, 7-11 months, onr-year-olds, and two-year-olds.
Registration for the Car Show starts at 9 a.m. in the shelter house on the school lawn, and judging is scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m.
The Lawn Tractor and Tractor and Farm Machinery Equipment Display, which will be held in the school parking lot, runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Inflatables for kids will open at 10:30 a.m. and at noon a Pet Show will be held in the shelter house. Categories for the Pet Show include: Cats, Dogs, Miscellaneous, and Best Dressed.
At 12:30 p.m., the popular Whiskers Contest begins on the center stage. According to Naylor, all beards must be real and will be judged in three categories: the longest, the best groomed, and the most unique.
An Air EVAC team is scheduled to arrive at 12:30 p.m., landing in the field across the street from the school, and firefighters from the Manchester Fire Department will demonstrate how they use the Jaws of Life to extract victims from crashed vehicles.
Singer, J. M. Tolle takes the stage at 1 p.m., with the Grand Parade following at 2:30 p.m. Parade floats will be judged on originality, neatness, attractiveness and effort.
First and second place trophies will be awarded in the following categories: horses, horses with carts, best religious floats and miscellaneous floats. Additional trophies will be given to band participants and emergency equipment.
Following the parade an auction will be held on the center stage with auctioneer Bob Ruggles.
The festival closes Sunday with a combined church service at the Bentonville Church of Christ in Christian Union starting at 11 a.m.