Monday, June 13, 2016

The Sugar Festival Is Coming

Myself and Daughter Watching Last Year's Sugar Festival Parade

This weekend our little town of 1,700 is celebrating it's 52nd Sugar Festival. You might wonder why we celebrate a "Sugar" Festival. Well, the area we live in is a farming community and there are fields of crops for miles. Farmers grow beans, corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, oats....and sugar beets!

There are sugar factories in 3 neighboring towns that I know of and we also have a sugar factory in our little town. My dad worked many years at the sugar factory in the lab years ago. One of my sisters also worked in the sugar factory for many years. The sugar beets are harvested in late August and September and lines of trucks haul the beets to the factory day and night.

The first sugar festival was in 1964 and there is a sugar queen crowned from candidates that run for the honor. My sister ran for the queen that first year but didn't get the queen title. I also ran for the sugar queen in 1974 and didn't get to be the queen either. But I would say it was a pretty good experience. I remember we had to sit with judges and they asked questions (which I don't really remember). My boyfriend at the time was my escort and we were all dressed up. We did get a savings bond for running and a bracelet with a little sugar beet on it.

The festival officially starts this Thursday and there is a midway with rides like the ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl and the usual rides. There are running races, fishing tournaments, and other activities also throught the weekend. Friday afternoon there is a kiddie parade that only has kids in it. They can make any type of float they want pertaining to the sugar beet industry or just ride their decorated bikes or wagons, etc. There are also town-wide garage sales and we're getting ready to have a sale also. On Friday night the queen is crowned and gets to wear a crown made of real sugar. I'm not sure what she wins but I'm thinking it's a college scholarship or an amount of money.

On Saturday morning the grand parade is at 10:30 and it usually lasts about an hour and a half. We only have to walk a couple of blocks down the street to watch it. Everybody lines up in front of houses and takes their lawnchairs if they want to sit and watch the parade. Kids take plastic bags or containers because a lot of candy and some toys or the like are thrown out from the people that are in the parade.

After the parade there is a chicken barbecue which the local firemen always prepare. It is the best barbecued chicken I have ever had and they have their own secret spice recipe. When my kids graduated from high school we had parties for them and one of their classmate's dad and his buddies prepared the same chicken for our parties. Everyone raved about the delicious chicken I remember.

This year we'll have time to go to the Grand Parade in the morning on Saturday but then in the afternoon we're invited to my niece's high school graduation party which is about a half hour from here. I'm making pasta salad for the party and have to make two huge bowls of it. Yes, Saturday will be a hectic day but I'm hoping it will be lots of fun too!

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