Plans finalizing for annual Purdy Festival July 18

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Purdy festival committee members can be found posting signs promoting this year’s event. From left: CarolAnn Bowman, Janice Courdin, Renae Neill and Shelby Terry. Not pictured is Robin Henderson. Contributed photo

9th annual outdoor event to focus on fun, family, friends

The 9th annual Purdy Festival is slated to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 18 in Purdy.

Committee members feel that this year’s event is more important than ever.

“This is an outdoor event, so there is plenty of room for social distancing,” said Renae Neill, one of the committee members. “With everything that is going on in the world, we want people to take a minute and just breathe. This is our gift to the community.”

The event will feature free rides for children, bathtub races, pony rides, a craft show, vendor booths, food trucks, 4-H exhibits, a veterans reception, a car, truck and motorcycle show, and more.

“The committee never stopped planning,” Neill said. “We have been in frequent contact with the Barry County Health Department, and they have been awesome to work with. Our goal has always been to make this event happen. We want people to get back to living. This is an opportunity for people to find joy and know that life is still good.”

Neill said the majority of the feedback from the community has been positive.

“Normalcy is important,” she said. “People’s mental and emotional health is just as important as their physical health.”

A big change this year will be the absence of inflatables for the children.

“Rides are easier, because you just spray them down and let them dry,” Neill explained. “You can’t do that with inflatables.”

Nixa Party Station will once again be providing the free rides. Craft and vendor booths will be located inside the school where people can shop and browse in comfort. The Purdy FFA students will be hosting the petting zoo again this year.

“Those kids are great,” she said. “In addition to helping unload and set up vendors at the school, they will be doing trash patrol, the petting zoo and the bathtub races. The school staff has also been amazing.”

A veterans reception will take place at noon at Veteran’s Park. The National Anthem will play at noon, with the reception taking place immediately afterward at the pavilion.

“This is our chance to tell these men and women ‘thank you’ for their service,” Neill said. “It might just be lemonade and cookies, but we want to let them know that we appreciate their service and that they are important to us.”

The Eddie Valen Band is slated to perform a mix of oldies, goodies and Christian music at the car show this year, and Brian Lee Dunning will perform his special brand of rockabilly.

“Having live music at the car show will be new this year,” Neill said. “We already have car enthusiasts from all over, some from out of state, anxious to show off their babies, so we expect this to be one of the biggest car shows yet.”

That event, Thunder in the Park, will feature not only the car show, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but a cruise-in until dusk, followed by valve cover drag racing. First and second place prizes will be awarded in each of two divisions, 13-years-and-under and 14-years-and-older.

Food trucks include the Redneck Gourmet, serving up some fair favorites; Prime Cut, with their smoked meat specialties; Sno Ballz, with sno cones and icy treats; and Mike Bennett’s homemade ice cream.

“We are hoping to get a taco truck in,” Neill said. “We are trying to finalize that between now and the day of the festival.”

Attendees will be asked to wear free wrist bands, which will be distributed throughout the day. Periodically, wearers of a randomly chosen band color will be paged to a particular vendor or booth, with the first arrival awarded a free door prize.

From now until the festival, visitors to the Purdy Festival’s Facebook page who like, tag three friends and share the festival’s announcements, will be entered into a drawing to win $10 in free “fair bucks,” which can be spent at any vendor booth or food truck.

Finally, the Purdy Fire Protection District will host the evening’s “Cool Off,” pointing fire hoses in the air to rain buckets of water down on children wanting to enjoy the cooling activity after a sun-filled day of fun.

“We hope that people will turn out and enjoy the day and feel, once again, like it is a good time to be alive,” Neill said. “We want people to know that everything is going to be OK. That is more important this year than ever before.”

Committee members include Neill, CarolAnn Bowman, Janice Courdin, Shelby Terry and Robin Henderson.

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