FunFest takes place this week

The annual car show is one of the highlights of FunFest by the River. The Paper file photo

By David Fenker

NORTH MANCHESTER -- The 46th Annual FunFest by the River will come to North Manchester this week.

This year’s festival, themed “Car-toons by the River at FunFest”, will feature several new events, including a tractor show and industrial tours.

“A new event on Saturday is the Tractor Show. Right now, we know we have 50-70 tractors coming, and they’re old tractors to new tractors. Ed Egner has worked very hard on that,” FunFest Committee Co-Chair Karen Fawcett said.

Registration for the tractor show will be from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, on Main Street. The event is sponsored by North Manchester Custom Monuments.

According to North Manchester Chamber of Commerce Director Debra Pyrah, POET Biorefining is sponsoring one-hour round-trip tours of its facility on 800 South Saturday, Aug. 12.

Trolley No. 85 will depart from downtown on the hour for four hours, starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

Additional events will be familiar to those who have attended FunFest in previous years, starting in the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Wednesday’s events include a FunFest Birthday Parade, departing from the North Manchester Public Library at 6:30 p.m.; a picnic in Market Square from 6:30-8 p.m., Art and Brushes at the Moose Family Center on Main Street at 6:30 p.m.; and an UnScripted Concert at 7 p.m. in Market Square.

“Thursday, al the vendors will be there, all the food. We’ll have basketball – the three-on-three tourney – we’re still accepting teams for that. That’s always a big hit. There’s also the Cutie King and Queen, which we do every year for the little kids,” Joel Garber, another event co-chair, said.

The tournament begins at 5 p.m. in Market Square. Registration for the Cutie King and Queen Contest begins at 6 p.m., with the contest itself beginning at 6:30 p.m., both on the Chamber of Commerce lawn.

Several other attractions and events also begin or take place Thursday.

“The carnival rides open that night, and we also have a magician on Thursday night for the children, after the Cutie King and Queen contest,” Erica Garber, the third co-chair, said.

Carnival rides by Anderson Amusement begin at 4 p.m. on Main Street, and Jim Barron’s Magic Show will start at 8 p.m. on the Crossroads Bank Stage.

Additional Thursday activities include fire truck rides (6-8 p.m., North Market Street), Trivia Night (6 p.m., Moose Family Center) and the annual Hymn Sing (7 p.m., The Firehouse).

On Friday, the Eel River Cruisers Car Show and the American Legion Motorcycle Show will fill Main Street with classic and modern vehicles. Registration for the motorcycle show begins at 1 p.m. in the Post No. 286 parking lot, and the car show runs from 2-11 p.m. on Main and Mill streets.

Additional Friday activities include a second night of carnival rides (4-11 p.m.), free admission to the Center for History (10 a.m.-9 p.m.), live music at The Firehouse with Road Dog and Dakota Parker (5-8 p.m.), Trolley No. 85 rides (5-10 p.m.), a euchre tournament (7 p.m., Scout Hall), and the Wabatucky Shooters (8-11 p.m., Crossroads Bank Stage).

Saturday kicks off with an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet (7-10 a.m., Moose Family Center), and the 46th annual FunFest 5K and Fun Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m. at the Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Additional Saturday events include the Farmers market (8 a.m.-12 p.m., Riverbridge Electric), the Nick Winters Memorial Bench Press (9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Warvel Park Gazebo), the table tennis tournament (9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Scout Hall), the Bellwood Canoe Race (1 p.m., Liberty Mills Public Access Site), and square and line dancing (6:30 p.m., intersection of Third and Market streets).

This year’s FunFest parade, Car-toons by the River, will begin at 5 p.m. and goes through town.

“We have a lot of Shriners coming this year to join our parade. That will make our parade probably twice as long as it normally is,” Fawcett said.

The day’s festivities will end with a Zach Day Band concert, starting at 8 p.m. on the Crossroads Bank Stage.

The final event of the weekend will be the Izaak Walton League Prize Shoot, which begins at 12 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at the Liberty Mills IWL Club Grounds.

All FunFest events are free, thanks to sponsorship by local businesses.

“All of our entertainment is thanks to Crossroads Bank. They have been our sponsor for our bands, our magician… I can’t tell you all of our sponsors. We have a lot of them, and we’re so thankful,” Fawcett said.

“You could come and do a lot of things and not spend a dime. If you want to eat or drink something, yes, you’re going to spend money, but everything’s free – except of course our rides. Every event is sponsored by someone in town.”

According to Fawcett, the late Chris Garber, former Chamber director and Town Council president, encouraged the Chamber board of directors to take on the annual festival several years ago.

“When the original group was going to disband and there was no one to do it, he brought us all together and asked if we could do it… the Chamber took it on, and it’s been wonderful. My thing now is to keep it going because Chris loved FunFest,” she said.

Joel Garber added, “It’s great. A lot of good people from the community to come out. We continue to have great businesses in town that help us out, and you get to see everybody. It’s kind of like a reunion.”

Posted on 2017 Aug 08