Festival draws crowd to downtown Cassville
Even though both festival participants and attendees arrived a little later than normal this year, the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Fall Festival and Chili and Salsa Cook-Off once again drew a large crowd to downtown Cassville on Saturday.
"This Fall Festival was great," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "I was honestly pretty worried about the weather the week before, but our attendance was still great, and I think people really enjoyed themselves. This event has such a strong history in Cassville. I think people enjoy it no matter how cold it is."
The chamber sold nearly 800 chili tasting kits, which allowed attendees to sample chili and salsa prepared by 16 cooking competitors.
Community members who attended the annual event also had the opportunity to shop, enjoy free musical entertainment provided by 2-1-1 and Barry County Connection and watch a live dance performance of "Thriller." The Cassville First Baptist Church also offered a variety of children's activities during the event.
For the first time, the festival offered a pie baking contest this year. A total of 18 pies were submitted for the contest. Winning entries earned tickets to The Show, Cassville Cash and certificates.
Pie contest winners included: Marsha Leigh, cherry pie, best fruit pie; Alma Robins, coconut cream, best cream pie; Brenda Shriver, blueberry cream, best other pie; and Sandi Massey, cherry pie, best overall pie.
The pet parade, sponsored by Herrin Animal Hospital, featured an assortment of furry friends, who paraded from the Commerce Bank parking lot to the festival stage.
Pet parade winners were: Zack and Zoey Bishop and Deasel, best ears; Heather Davis and Peanut, best tail wag; Jaime, Wyatt, Landyn and Addyson Moore and Marley, best trick; and Trey, Trace and Tyra Jean Sturgell with Chandler and Blue, best costume.
The Cassville Chamber hosted its third annual Chili Dog Challenge, which was sponsored by Sonic. Jason Croach took first place and earned $100 in cash.
Awards were also presented to area businesses, organizations and individuals who competed in the chili and salsa contests and decorated their booths using the fall theme.
The 2012 Chili and Salsa Cook-Off spirit award was presented to Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). Realife Worship Center won the best decorated booth award. The people's choice chili award was presented to the Barry County Republican Club, and Arning Companies earned the people's choice salsa award.
Salsa winners included: the Barry County Republican Club, best hot salsa; Cassville United Methodist Church, best mild salsa; and Arning Companies, best fruity or sweet salsa.
Jimmy's Pre-Owned took home the Red Iron Chili Award, sponsored by Arning Companies, the Johnny Cash Ring of Fire Award, sponsored by Freedom Bank, and the Mercy That is Hot Chili Award, sponsored by Mercy Hospital Cassville.
First State Bank earned the More Bank for Your Buck Award, sponsored by Commerce Bank, and the Biggest Rebel Award, sponsored by Rebel Recycling.
Cassville United Methodist Church was presented with the Best Gas Producing Chili Award, sponsored by Fastrip, and the Great Local Talent Award, sponsored by Security Bank.
Other award winners included: Commerce Bank, Watt's Zappening Award, sponsored by Barry Electric Cooperative; Barry Electric, Best Hot Mix Chili, sponsored by Hutchens Construction; and the Barry County Republican Club, MariCorps Meatiest Chili, sponsored by Scott Fitzpatrick.
Other salsa and chili cook-off competitors were: All Points Recycling; Barry County Drug Court Alumni; the Butterfield Fire Department; the Cassville Cruisers; Emmanuel Baptist Church; Freedom Bank; and Superior Metal.
"Our chili and salsa cook-off committee is fully devoted to this event," said Artherton. "Their commitment to this event and our chamber blows me away year after year. I am so impressed by them and can't say thank you enough."
The committee included: Bill Shiveley; Annette Henderson; Randy Stockton; Mike and Trish McCracken; the Sonic leadership team; Gary and Wanda Whyte; Kenny and Perryleanne Lingle; Justin Gates; Stacy Runnels; Stacy Hodge; and Cherry Bailey.
In addition to sponsoring the annual Fall Festival this weekend, the Cassville Chamber sponsored the 20th anniversary production of The Show. Community members enjoyed performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"The Show musicians work on this event all year long," said Artherton. "It is amazing that we have so much talent right here in Cassville who have devoted their time to this event for 20 years. The Show volunteers are all outstanding and the chamber greatly appreciates all the time and energy they devote to The Show."
The Show is directed by Greg Beck and features the HomeTown Sound Band, which includes: Jack Reed, guitar; Bruce Nickle, bass; Carol House, piano; JoEllen Fielding, keyboard and flute; Jim Craig, trombone; Rocky Mills, trumpet; Steve Lyons, sax; Brenda Beck, percussion; and Greg Beck, drums.
The RedHots are Jennifer Evans, Debbie Nickle and JaDonna Hoover.
This year, The Show also featured solo performances by Katie Johnson, Jessica Hendrix, Brianna Wilson, Leslie Smith, John Lueckenhoff, Tracy Essary, Wayne Hendrix, Josh Davison, Angela Seymour, Blake Whitley, Audra Shumaker, Alicia McCullah, Bradley Lueckenhoff, Phillip Roller, Cassidy Larson, Nicole McGuffy, Karen Brattin and Rodney Hughes.
Carolyn Bowen, Wendy Lueckenhoff and Dale Strahan assisted with backstage, set-up, wardrobe, sound and stage lighting.
Tickets are now available for the annual Christmas Show, which will be performed at the Crowder College Cassville Campus Community Building on Nov. 29 and 30.
For more information, call the chamber office at 847-2814 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.