Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Popcorn Day

My parents are both from an adorable tiny town in southern Illinois called Ridgway.  Mike and I are lucky enough to be only a 3.5 hour drive from my Grandparents who still live there and we try to make the trip as often as our schedule allows.  Every year on the second Saturday in September, they hold their annual Popcorn Day Festival.  I was very excited when I realized we'd be able to attend this years festivities as M had never been and I hadn't attended the event in at least 13 years. 

Popcorn Day!

We drove up Friday night after work and awoke early Saturday for a eight mile training run through corn fields.  It was quite different from our usual route and we enjoyed the change of scenery and gorgeous weather.

Once the run was out of the way and our tummies were stuffed with homemade apple bread, we were ready to get in on the fun. The first event of the morning is the kiddie costume parade.  The theme this year was Popcorn and a Movie so most of the costumes were along these lines.

start of the kiddie parade

kiddie float

Next up is a bubble gum blowing contest and a popcorn eating contest (also for kids).  These are entertaining to watch, especially while enjoying unlimited free popcorn.

me and gramps

mike and uncle kent
unlimited free popcorn- yes please
The final competition is by far the most amusing and takes place in the "frog pond."  One by one, kids bring their frogs to the center of the circle and try to get them to jump.  The jumps are measured and the longest three win.  My favorite is when the frogs jump like crazy into a frantic crowd and everyone quickly scatters. 

frog mid-air

big frog

After the morning fun, we scoped out the fair portion of the festival and headed back to the house for an amazing granny-cooked meal.  Next, we claimed our spot in the yard to view the "Giant Parade."  We watched all the floats go by and fought some little kids for a few pieces of candy before it was our turn to jump in the parade. 

my aunt and uncles float
My Uncle drives the "corn car" in the parade which is a very long, very bright, old yellow Cadillac. We had lots of laughs as we rode in the back and waved to the crowd.

corn car in the driveway

riding in the parade

The afternoon was spent visiting with family around town and watching the live music. 

When Mike saw a Demolition Derby on the schedule, he made sure we were all planning to attend the event out at the town park.  I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into...

the demolition derby arena

In case you aren't familiar either, the event consists of a giant mud-filled arena and lots of busted cars.  They spread out around the ring and at the horn, begin crashing into each other.  The last car standing after all the others have died, wins. 


people were creative with their car designs

action shot- yes that is lots of mud flying, yes you get dirty


there were lots of fires

Our day was finished off with another yummy meal, a little more family time and a fabulous live band back downtown.  As always, our weekend away went by way too fast but we had such a great time experiencing Popcorn Day! 

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