12th annual Quitmanfest gets back to basics

By Kayla Baugh Published September 24, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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Children play on the inflatables at last year’s Quitmanfest. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and feature live entertainment, activities for kids, contests, vendors and a car show.

— Quitmanfest has a variety of festival favorites — inflatables for kids, vendors, a car show, live entertainment — but what about trying the tricycle race?

The city festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Quitman Sports Complex. Admission is free, but there is a $5 parking fee.

Tonia Shue, president of Quitman Community Connection, said the group of volunteers focuses on helping people in the Quitman area.

“We meet and plan events in Quitman, and our main goal is to raise money to go toward buying Christmas gifts for children in our community who wouldn’t otherwise get them,” she said.

Shue said Quitman Community Connection serves more than 100 children each year, and the fees collected for vendor booths at the event will be split between the city and the organization.

The official Quitmanfest website states that a 5K race will begin at 8, with registration at 7:30, on the morning of the event.

The festival will officially open to the public at 10 a.m., kicking off with an onstage Little Mister and Miss Quitmanfest pageant, and entertainment provided by Stage 2 Dance.

Shue said more than 50 vendor booths will be set up, selling everything from crafts to baked goods.

Barbecue, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, corn dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy and popcorn are a few of the classic festival menu items families can choose from, according to the Quitmanfest website.

Kids will also have a variety of options for fall fun, including inflatables, pony rides, face-painting, wheelbarrow races and a petting zoo.

Shue said a car show will begin at 10 a.m., and preregistration is not required to participate.

A tricycle race will start at 2 p.m., followed by a greased-pig chase for kids at 2:30 p.m.

Hot-dog- and watermelon-eating contests will take place at noon, and other activities, games and tournaments will run throughout the event.

In order to participate in the Horseshoe, Baggo or basketball tournaments, registration must be completed before the events begin at 10 a.m., she said.

Registration costs $10 per team of two for horseshoe and Baggo, she said.

Registration is $20 per team of four for basketball, and at least one player must be 13 or younger, she said.

Shue said registration for the 5 p.m. kickball tournament must be completed by 4:30 p.m. and costs $20 per team of nine or more.

“I’m looking forward to having enough events for there to be something for everybody this year,” she said.

“I’ve lived in Quitman my entire life, so I just want to be able to help everybody in town have a fun time, while also earning money for the things we need.”

Onstage entertainment will include Grandmaster Han’s at 2 p.m., Cleburne County Judo at 3 p.m. and Classy Chassy Country with Becki Scheeter at 4 p.m.

Cyndi Kerr, the mayor of Quitman, said the horseshoe tournament, pageant, basketball tournament and greased-pig chase are all new events at Quitmanfest this year.

“We are trying to go back to the simple events that people enjoy. The kids will have a great time this year,” she said.

Kerr said the festival welcomes families to enjoy a full day of fun without spending a lot of money, as admission is free, and all events are free to watch.

“It brings the community together and allows people to visit one another who don’t get a chance to otherwise. It’s also a fundraiser that helps with our city-sports-complex improvements,” she said.

The car show is her favorite part of the festival, she said, and many of the featured vehicles are true works of art.

“Quitman is a really good community full of people who are always willing to help,” Shue said.

Staff writer Kayla Baugh can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or kbaugh@arkansasonline.com.

None Kayla Baugh can be reached at 501-244-4307 or kbaugh@arkansasonline.com.