California Chorus to perform 'Celebrate America' at 23rd Ham and Turkey Festival

Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival

Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival

By DAVID A. WILSON

Democrat Staff

California's Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival is Saturday, Sept. 21.

The festival, which is in its 23nd year, held mostly in the downtown area of the city. A highlight of the festival this year is "Celebrate America," a patriotic musical presentation by the California Chorus. Directed by Tim Burgher, music minister of California First Baptist, the chorus consists of 31 singers, 19 of which are from First Baptist and 12 from other local churches. The hour long musical event will include the "Pledge of Allegiance," "The Star Spangled Banner," and "A Tribute to the Armed Forces," with present and former members of the armed forces recognized.

Although it is along the lines of a street fair, some events are held elsewhere. The 5K Walk/Run is in the area of Village Green Shopping Center and the Disc Golf Tournament is at Proctor Park.

The day starts at 7 a.m. with the Kiwanis ham breakfast at the Commerce Bank parking lot. Breakfast tickets can be purchased on location or prior to the event from a local Kiwanis member.

The "Get All Fired Up" festival parade is set to begin lining up at 8:30 a.m. near the concrete company on Smith Street. It will be led by the City of California Police Department and the vintage Chevrolet Fire Truck bought new in 1954. The fire truck is the source of the parade theme. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m., starting on Smith Street at Industrial Drive, turn north (right) on Oak Street and turn east (right) when it reaches East South Street turning right and ending at Cargill. The festival committee and the California Police Department requests that parade-watchers be considerate of others avoid parking along Oak Street.

Parade awards and prizes will be presented following the 11 a.m. flag raising ceremony at the Moniteau County Courthouse.

There will be a live broadcast of the parade on KRLL 1420 AM from a location along the parade route following The Garden Spot with Alice Longfellow.

The start and finish of the 5K Walk/Run will be at Village Green Shopping Center. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. for walkers and 7:45 a.m. for runners. The route will go through streets south of the shopping center. Village Green Shopping Center is located on the south side of Highway 50 in the west part of California.

The Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival Car Show will be at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. Registration is from 7 a.m. to 12 noon with the show running to 3 p.m.

There will be more than 100 booths, a Barbecue Tournament at the Commerce Bank parking lot, an Antique Tractor Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. also at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. Check in for the Disc Golf Tournament is at 8 a.m. The tourney will begin at the Lions Club Pavilion.

On the post office lawn will be Kid's Corner from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the ever popular Diaper Derby at 11 a.m., with registration at 10:30 a.m.

At the courthouse, the flag-raising ceremony performed by Boy Scout Troop 120 is at 11 a.m. on the south steps of the courthouse with Sounds of Joy singing the national anthem.

South of the courthouse, Cargill will build a 70.5 foot submarine sandwich. Serving will begin at 11:30 p.m.

Bingo will be from noon to 4 p.m. on the Courthouse lawn.

A washerboard tournament, located on Third Street, begins at noon. Registration is at 11 a.m.

There are three stages with a variety of entertainment.

The North Stage entertainment is provided by the students of the California Middle School and High School students. On the South Stage, entertainment includes a number of local performers, including the California Chorus with its performance of "Celebrate America." The historic Finke Theatre serves as the third stage with performances by the California Community Ensemble and other groups. The Friends of the Finke is also holding a fundraiser raffle with drawing to be at 4 p.m. the day of the festival.

Last, but not least, are the Tuff Truck Scramble and Compact Figure 8 Challenge at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. Gates open at 4 p.m. The event begins at 7 p.m. with admission $7. Children under 12 are free.

For information about the festival, call California Area Chamber of Commerce at 573-796-3040.

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