MOUNTAIN VIEW For the 37th consecutive year, beans and outhouses will be the theme of the weekend in Mountain View.
The 37th annual Bean Festival and Great Championship Outhouse Races is set for Friday and Saturday in downtown Mountain View. The event, hosted by the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce, takes place at 109 N. Peabody Ave.
“This is one of our biggest festivals of the season,” said Nikki Morrow, executive director for the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce. “It brings in thousands of tourists every year.”
This will be Morrow’s second Bean Festival, as she is in her second year as executive director.
“It was overwhelming at first,” Morrow said. “There are so many facets to pull something like this together. You have a handful of volunteers to help you do it.”
Morrow said the Bean Festival and Great Championship Outhouse Races occur two months after Music and Motorcycles in late August.
“We have practically two festivals back to back,” she said. “So keeping all that organized is overwhelming sometimes, but we get it done.”
The festival will begin Friday with live music and vendors, said Shanna Tacker, executive assistant for the chamber.
“They are going to do the bean fest and outhouse race on Saturday,” she said.
The fire to cook beans will be lit at 7 a.m.
“People dress up in costumes,” Tacker said. “We have a costume contest for the bean cookers. They also decorate their area. A lot of people who are cooking have done it for many years. We’ve had a few who have retired from cooking, so we’ve got some new teams starting as well.”
Tacker said a parade of outhouses will take place Saturday.
“The participants also dress up in costumes,” she said. “Some of the ones we’ve had in the past include General Pee and the Poops of Hazzard.”
The beans and cornbread will be served at noon. A dinner bell will be rung to signify the start of lunch.
Tacker said the outhouses will also be judged, and a talent show will be presented.
“We’ll have music all throughout the day,” Tacker said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
Mountain View Mayor Roger Gardner said the festival is big.
“We have a good lineup for bean fest,” he said. “The outhouse races are always a hoot, too. It’s a lot of fun for everybody. You can be involved, from cooking beans to doing several things like that. You can build an outhouse and race. If you play music, we can usually get you on a stage and let you sing. There’s a lot of audience participation.”
Gardner said volunteers are key to the bean fest and outhouse race.
“Mountain View-area people are great volunteers,” he said. “They are what make these festivals what they are.”
Morrow said that cooking teams have filled up that competition.
“All of our bean-cooker spots are already taken up,” she said. “We usually fill up those spots in mid-September. For the outhouse races, people can sign up the day of the event. If someone gets a wild hare this weekend and they want to build an outhouse, they can contact me, and I’ll send them over the specs and rules.”
The entry fee for the Great Championship Outhouse Races is $40 to preregister or $50 the day of the races.
Morrow said the Bean Festival and Championship Outhouse Races has a huge economic impact on the city of Mountain View.
“It fills up every single lodging facility in Mountain View for three days,” she said, referring to Thursday through Saturday, or Friday through Sunday. “I know most of the hotels have a three-night minimum. It also fills up all our restaurants all weekend long.”
For more information, call the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce at (870) 269-8068 or visit the chamber’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mountainviewareachamberofcommerce.
Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or email@example.com.