Chamber adds something old and new, borrowed and blue

No, the 91st annual Fall Festival will not feature a wedding but it will be adding something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

The Exeter Chamber of Commerce approached the Exeter City Council last night to request permission to bring back an old activity from the festival's past -- a cow chip throwing contest. Chamber CEO Delora Buckman-Merritt said the contest was popular in years past and has been requested by many members of the community.

She said someone collects piles of cow dung which is then dried. Patrons pay for a "cow chip" and then throw it like a Frisbee. Games can be played for distance or trying to land the chips in certain squares. The contest would be held at City Park on Saturday, Oct. 9, the last and best day of Fall Festival. The council did not make its decision until after press time.

"This was really popular and a lot of people would like to see it come back," Buckman-Merritt said.

New this year will be the first ever Exeter Kiwanis Club pancake eating contest at 9 a.m. on Oct. 9 at City Park. There will be two races -- one for 11 years old and younger and one for 12 years old and older. First place trophies will be awarded to one individual in each group for the fastest person to eat 12 pancakes. Sign ups will be limited to the first 12 in each group. Registration ends at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

Wine tasting will also be added this year as the Fall Festival has borrowed the Exeter Cultural Arts Council's (ECAC) Art Affair. Now in its ninth year, Art Affair has been combined with Exeter's largest community event to help diversify both events. ECAC board member Jennifer Davis said the change will keep everything Art Affair has to offer while offering more variety to Fall Festival.

"With the Arts Market in Visalia and everything the [Courthouse] Gallery does it makes sense to add onto Fall Festival," Davis said. "It is a smaller version of what we have done but there will be more foot traffic for the artists."

Last year's Art Affair was moved to the fall from the spring which is packed with community events such as Exeter Boys & Girls Club's Starlight Ball, Exeter Woman's Club's Home Tour and Exeter Lions Club's Brewfest. The event was successful after gearing more toward adult themes such as art and craft demonstrations, and wine and cheese tasting. This year's Art Affair at Fall Festival will include wine tasting, art sales and will bring back popular traditions such as the chalk art contest.

The something blue, or lack thereof, will be the draining of the wading pool to serve as a canvas for the chalk art competition.

"It gives the festival more of an artsy feel and creates more visibility for the artists," Davis said. "There is always a busy community calendar in Exeter and this gives everyone more variety in one place."

This year's Fall Festival is sponsored by the Exeter Lions Club, R & N Market, Tricia Kirksey Real Estate, Kaweah Delta HealthCare District, Carole's Restaurant, Arlene Allen Real Estate and Edward Jones Investments. Fall Festival will run from Monday, Oct. 4 through Saturday, Oct. 9:

Monday, Oct. 4

  • Miss Exeter Coronation Dinner

    Ten candidates have applied for the chamber's Miss Exeter Personal Development and Scholarship program and the winner will be announced during the dinner program held at the Exeter Veterans Memorial Building, which marks the beginning of Fall Festival. Miss Exeter, formally Fall Festival Queen, will receive a $500 scholarship from the chamber. All candidates, including Miss Exeter, will receive a savings bond and other gifts from local merchants. Miss Exeter and her court will attend and help promote Fall Festival throughout the week-long festivities. In addition to Fall Festival, Miss Exeter and her court will also attend the chamber's Man & Woman of the Year Banquet in February. Each candidate is sponsored by a local organization or business. The young women will gather information, such as history, on their sponsoring business or organization and write a 250-word essay on their findings. Each candidate will also give a five to 10 minute speech on the essay information to the sponsor. Each candidate will sell raffle tickets for the chamber. During the dinner is a question and answer period and fashion show.

    Wednesday, Oct. 6

  • Pumpkin Carving Contest

    The 14th annual Pumpkin Carving Contest begins at 4:30 p.m. at Mixter Park, corner of Pine and Palm streets. Children 12 and younger are eligible to participate. Age divisions are: 5 and younger, 6- to 7-year-olds, 8- to 9-year-olds, and 10- to 12-year-olds. Judging will be in two categories: Spookiest and Most Original. Children must provide their own pumpkins. Please bring a plastic bag and newspaper to help with the clean up. Miss Exeter and Court will judge the event.

    Thursday, Oct. 7

  • Chamber Mixer

    The Exeter Chamber of Commerce will hold its October Mixer and present Miss Exeter and her Court to the community. The mixer will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at Bank of the Sierra, 1103 W. Visalia Road in Exeter.

    Friday, Oct. 8

  • Lip Sync Contest

    The 14th annual Lip Sync Contest will be held at 5 p.m. at the gazebo in City Park, corner of E and Chestnut streets. Prizes will be awarded to children in the following categories: Male Soloist, Female Soloist and Group. Age divisions are: kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through eighth grade and ninth through 12th grade. Songs must be no longer than three minutes. Only three of the same song will be allowed, on a first come, first serve basis. The deadline to register is Oct. 7. No registrations will be taken the day of the event. Miss Exeter and Court will judge the event.

    Saturday, Oct.

    (All events held at City Park.)

  • 10K/2-Mile Run/Walk

    The 10K/2-Mile Run/Walk Prediction Race will begin at 7 a.m. on Oct. 9 at City Park. Registration is $15 and is due by 6:45 a.m. the day of the event. You may sign up prior to the event at the Recreation Office, 314 W. Firebaugh Ave. Only the first 75 entrants will receive T-shirts.

  • Horseshoe Tournament

    The Horseshoe Tournament will be held on Oct. 9 at City Park. The tournament is round-robin style with eight players in each class. Class A begins at 8 a.m., B at 10:30 a.m. and C at 1 p.m. Only the first 24 paid players will be allowed in. Entry fee is $15 and includes a T-shirt.

    For more information call the Recreation Office at 592-5262.

  • Fall Festival Parade

    The Exeter Chamber of Commerce is accepting entries for the 2004 Fall Festival Parade at 10 a.m. The theme of the 91st year of the event is "Celebrating Our Heritage & Harvest." Deadline for entries to be completed and returned to the chamber is 5 p.m. on Oct. 1. Entry forms can be picked up at the chamber's office, 101 W. Pine St. The parade is just one of the many activities that will take place all day at City Park on Saturday, Oct. 9, the last day of Fall Festival. For questions call the chamber at 592-2919.

  • Entertainment

    From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m entertainment at the gazebo includes the introduction of Miss Exeter and her Court, the Wilson Middle School Tall Flags, Steamin' Stan Ruffo, Exeter Dance Company and the Lip Sync contest winners from Friday.

  • Oldtimers Lunch & Reunion

    The Exeter Oldtimers Reunion will be held at noon at the Exeter Memorial Building. To qualify as an oldtimer you must have been born in Exeter at least 50 years ago or have lived in Exeter more than 50 years. Honored guests this year will be graduates from Exeter Union High School's Class of 1954. Awards will be given for the Oldest Oldtimer Man, Oldest Oldtimer Woman, Youngest Oldtimer and the person who traveled the greatest distance. The cost is $10 per person. Reservations must by made by Monday, Oct. 4. For more information call Wilma Hirni at 592-3434.

  • Foothill Road Race

    Pre-World War II race cars and speedsters will be on display from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on E Street between Pine and Maple. At 1 p.m. the cars will depart for a ride through the foothills escorted by the Exeter Police Department. The cars will return at 3 p.m. for the announcement of the Best in Show and People's Choice award winners. For more information call Wes Clover at 592-9939.

  • Other Activities: Art Affair area will have wine tasting, art and wine sales and a Chalk Art contest in the drained wading pool. More than 80 booths of arts and crafts, food and games will be on display throughout City Park. Chamber CEO Delora Buckman-Merritt said there will also be two pet adoptions and an exotic bird booth this year.

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