Newark community festival in 20th year

By Angela Spencer Published August 24, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Ernie Pectol, a member of the Newark Area Chamber of Commerce entertainment committee, stands in the Newark City Park with a poster for the Times-N-Traditions Festival.

NEWARK — Community traditions help create unity and provide unique experiences for residents, and one tradition in Newark will embark on its 20th year in September.

The 20th annual Times-N-Traditions Festival, otherwise known as the T.N.T. Festival, in Newark will occur Sept. 6, and Ernie Pectol, a member of the Newark Area Chamber of Commerce entertainment committee, said the festival continues to get better every year.

“Hopefully, we’ll have great weather. We’ve only been rained out one time that I recall,” he said. “We’ve got an excellent line of entertainment, a beautiful place to have it, a very reasonable price. It’s a good areawide event.”

Newark used to celebrate Old Home Week in July, but as time went on, participation in the event dwindled. Twenty years ago, local businesses wanted to start something new to take the place of Old Home Week. At that point, the Times-N-Tradition Festival started to fill that void.

“Local merchants and other volunteers felt they would try something else again,” Pectol said. “It used to be downtown. Back in those times, they even had train rides with it. They did a lot of work in the park, and it’s just a real good spot to have it.”

Pectol has been working on the festival board for more than 10 years, and he said around the time the event started, it moved from downtown Newark to the Newark City Park.

The festival will start at 10 a.m. with a parade that goes through downtown Newark into the park. The day will continue with karaoke, a talent contest and drawings for cash prizes. Entertainment will include the Super Swine Band; the Cummins Prison Band; The Roadshow with Nick Fudge and Friends; J.R. Rogers and the All Star Band; and Billy Joe Royal. At 10:30 p.m., the evening will conclude with a fireworks show.

Tickets for the festival are $6, and children 4 and younger will get in free. Parking for the event is free, and vendors will offer food for sale.

“It’s just a way to give back and to try to have some activity for the community,” Pectol said. “There’s not a lot of restaurants or businesses to speak of, but when we have the festival, it certainly helps the ones who are here.”

The festival is not about making money for the chamber, Pectol said. The gate fee simply helps pay for the festival’s expenses, and sponsors help fill in any gaps. Festival organizers have been lucky to get great deals on carnival rides, entertainment and fireworks for the festival, Pectol said, and they are thankful for the opportunity to continue the tradition.

“We barely break even most years, if we even break even,” he said. “It’s not about the money. It’s a lot of hard work. We got lots of help from sponsors and volunteers.”

New this year, Pectol said, a traveling carnival will be at the festival, and the carnival will be open Friday night with no gate charge. In past years, the festival took place Friday and Saturday, but attendance was low on Friday nights when the festival had to compete with Cedar Ridge High School football. Still, Pectol said, he hopes the Friday-night carnival will be a hit for families.

For more information or to become a sponsor for the festival, contact Ernie Pectol at (870) 799-8888.

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

Zoned Editions Staff Writer Angela Spencer can be reached at 501-244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

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