Tuesday, October 07, 2014

TOP STORY >> CabotFest looks to a big weekend

Leader staff writer

CabotFest gets underway this weekend. Admission is free to the annual downtown celebration.

The festival began in 1978 as a small get-together to celebrate the rebuilding of Cabot after a killer tornado ravaged the city in 1976.

“We expect a great crowd, great weather and for it to be successful,” Cabot Chamber of Commerce Director Amy Williams said.

Festivities begin Friday night with the carnival from 6 to 11 p.m.

Ride armbands for Friday only will be on sale for $15 at the Cabot chamber office until noon Friday.

The street dance with DJ Paul Grass is returning after many years. Dancing will take place at the new city hall parking lot from 9 to 11 p.m. Friday, following the high school football game.

On Saturday, the Cabot Lions Club will hold a pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. at Cabot First Baptist Church, 204 N. Third St.

The breakfast raises money to buy eyeglasses for local children and adults. It helps provide local residents with surgeries for glaucoma and cataracts and provides vision screenings at area daycares, preschools, churches, health fairs and the Lonoke County Christian Clinic. The breakfast also supports the Cabot Lions Scholarship Fund.

Tickets for the breakfast are $5 for adults and $2 for children 10 years old and under. They can be purchased in advance from Cabot Lions Club members or at the door. Carry-out service will be available. Diners are asked to bring in their used eyeglasses so they can be recycled.

CabotFest starts at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies and continues to 6 p.m. The Mount Carmel Baptist Church choir will perform the “National Anthem” and the Cabot High School ROTC will present the colors. The Cabot High School snare drum section is also scheduled to perform.

Activities are happening all day. Festivalgoers can visit more than 150 vendor and food booths. Cooks will be serving chili dogs, kettle corn, Filipino and Mexican cuisines, blooming onions, crawdads, barbecue, fried pies and other fair food favorites.

Re:New Church is presenting the Cricket Spittin’ contest to see who can spit a cricket the farthest.

Youth and worship pastor Jon Atchison said, “There is nothing like this anywhere. Let’s get the word out. Some people have embraced it. For others, it is gross to them. It’s a unique competition to just Cabot.”

The contest runs all day for $1 each try. There are three different age groups for kids, teens and adults. World champion cricket spittin‘ trophies will be presented at 6:30 p.m.

The crickets are not found in the field, but are food-grade variety.

Money raised from the contest will go back into funding future cricket spittin’ contests.

“CabotFest is all about family fun. They can share the experience. People have been talking about it since last year,” Atchison said.

Atchison said records will be kept, so they can be challenged in the future.

The festival will have a kids zone with inflatables and a book mobile. The Cabot Animal Shelter adoption unit will have cats and dogs needing new homes.

Dance and gymnastics groups will be performing on stage from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Faith Baptist Church will hold a 5K run. The Cabot AARP chapter is holding BINGO.

There will be a car show for vehicles of all years and models, a photo booth at $1 a picture, Build-A-Pal, a station where children can make a stuffed animal starting at $15; and a paintball course starting at $3.

Live music entertainment scheduled on the main stage starts at 4 p.m. First up is The Blend, a doo-wop acappella quartet from Illinois singing hits songs from the 1950s and ‘60s. Following the group at 5:30 p.m. is Country musician Matt Dame from Nashville. Dame is a Batesville native and a former police officer turned musician.

Anthem Lights will perform at 7 p.m. It’s a Christian-Rock group from Nashville that has a following. Band member Alan Powell stars in a new movie, “The Song,” which was inspired by the life of Solomon.

The carnival will be open until 11 p.m.