Shake a tail feather, get out to Ostrich Festival
Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic Stuart
Nielsen and his daughter Payton, 2, of Saint Johns, look at one of the ostriches in the holding pen at the Ostrich Festival in Chandler on Saturday, March 14, 2009.
by Luci Scott - Mar. 8, 2011, The Arizona Republic
Chandler, AZ--Even in the Digital Age, the low-tech Ostrich Festival continues to draw crowds who flock to concerts, carnival rides, food vendors and ostrich races.
The 23rd annual festival is Friday through Sunday at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler.
"I spoke to a younger couple a year ago, and they said they'd rather go to this festival than the State Fair," said Jim Brown, the festival's chairman and a member of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, the festival's sponsor.
"The festival is a better venue to watch music, and it's more of a family-type venue. You can let the kids run around on the grass."
The party includes plenty of action, such as ostrich races, a dog show, sea lion show, petting zoo, medieval jousting, a cowboy doing trick roping, a magician, dance groups and local musicians, a classic car show, pig races, camel rides and carnival rides.
"There's always something happening," Brown said.
The festival will feature food, including corn dogs, cotton candy, ostrich burgers and potato chips made fresh while hungry diners watch the cooks.
Souvenirs will be sold, including emu oil and hand-painted ostrich eggs.
Music concerts on two stages, included in the admission price, will feature Jack of Hearts, a Bob Dylan tribute band, at 6 p.m. Friday, and a Led Zeppelin tribute band, Heartbreaker, at 6 p.m. Saturday. The J. Powers Band will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, and Chuck E. Baby and the Allstars will appear at 7 p.m. Saturday. Latin groups are on deck Sunday.
Rock musician Eddie Money will be on deck at 8 p.m. Saturday.
"Eddie Money is one of those guys who really does work at a performance," Brown said. "He is an entertainer, not just a guy sitting up there strumming his guitar."
Sunday brings Grupo Control at 4:30 p.m.
A 7 p.m. Sunday concert will be performed by Motown legends the Spinners, one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s. A Spinners' song "The Rubberband Man" reached the No. 2 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, where it spent three weeks. It hit the top of the U.S. rhythm and blues chart in 1976.
A popular celebrity with young people, Freddie Benson (Nathan Kress) of the hit show iCarly will greet festival visitors and pose for photos from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the main stage.
Festivalgoers can enjoy an unusual activity in a shallow swimming pool, where children and adults can get inside a clear plastic ball and roll around in the water.
"I think it will be as fun to watch as to actually do it yourself," Brown said.
The Ostrich Festival has received national attention; it has been mentioned in "Reader's Digest" and on TV's "Animal Planet."