The 2017 Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival is the 27th year for the annual event, sponsored by the California Area Chamber of Commerce, on the third Saturday of September. This year, the date is Sept. 16.
This year, as every year, the community has been gearing up for the one-day event. To visitors, the Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival appears to be largely a street fair in the downtown area around the Moniteau County Courthouse. But some events will be held elsewhere in the city.
The big event has something for just about everyone. There is, of course, food, food, more food and more than 100 vendor booths.
The day's celebration includes a parade, a flag-raising, a walk/run, disc golf and washerboard tournaments, car show, three stages of entertainment, Figure 8 racing and, new for this year, a remote-control truck racing course, which will be set up on Madison Street. There also will be a children's barnyard, a diaper derby and kids' corner.
Outside of the downtown area, the 5K Walk/Run, which starts at 7:30 a.m., is held at the Village Green Shopping Center on West Business 50. The cost is $25 on the day of the event, $20 for sign-up before.
The sixth annual Disc Golf Tourney will be at Proctor Park beginning about 9 a.m. for an entry fee of $20.
The Cars and More Show will be at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $20 for entry on show day, $15 entry fee prior to the big day.
The Figure 8 racing competition will be at the fairgrounds main arena beginning at 7 p.m., for a cost of $5.
And there is also the "Anything Goes" parade which will start at 9:30 a.m. on Smith Street, wind through the city and proceed through the fairgrounds and ends at Cargill. The festival committee asks that parade-watchers avoid parking along Oak Street.
In the general area of downtown, parade awards and prizes will be presented following the 11 a.m. flag-raising ceremony at the Moniteau County Courthouse.
There will be all kinds of food offerings. The "food day" begins with the Kiwanis ham breakfast from 7-9 a.m. near Commerce Bank, pork steak sandwiches at the Eagles Club, steak sandwiches at the Cattlemen's Association booth, turkey drumsticks at the Cargill booth. There is the traditional Cargill employee-created turkey sub-sandwich (73.5 feet long this year), which will be served at 11:30 a.m. Of course, there will be all sorts of "fair food" from numerous vendors.
For a tasty dessert, stop by the Moniteau County Historical Society and purchase a slice of pie. While there, check out the museum and the recently restored 126-year-old life-sized Heck horse.
After 2 p.m., the barbecue contest competitors, who have paid $18 to enter the contest, will have samples available. The washerboard tourney will begin on Third Street at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $20.
The Barbecue Stage, on Third Street, near the washerboard tourney and the barbecue cook-off, will feature the "Last Call" band with Kenny Hunt, Jefferson City, doing vocal and guitar. The North Stage at the northwest corner of the courthouse square, will feature performances from several different California High and Middle schools groups. The South Stage, at the south corner of the post office, will feature performances by local talent.
Pick up the Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 issue of the California Democrat newspaper to find the complete 2017 Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival guide.