The turnout at the 27th annual Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival was estimated to have been better than the past couple of years. As the temperature hit about 90 degress, the crowd thinned out in the early afternoon.
At the festival, there were booths for food to suit nearly everyone's tastes, whether beef, pork, turkey or Brazilian-style chicken and brats not to mention kettle corn, funnel cakes, corndogs, slushies, sno-cones, ice cream, Dipping Dots and many other sweets.
In addition to food, there were booths offering a variety of items, including hand-crafted pottery items, crafts, T-shirts, purses, scarves, colorful baskets and wind chimes. There was even a booth offering manicures and a massage chair. There were demonstrations of pottery-making, arrowhead-making and blacksmithing, using a small portable forge.
The day started off with the 5K walk/run at the Village Green Shopping Center and Kiwanis breakfast at the Commerce Bank drive-through lot. The parade started at 9:30 a.m. on Smith Street and ended in the vicinity of the fairgrounds. Next was Boy Scout Troop 120 conducting the flag-raising on the south side of the courthouse, the California Elementary School group California Kids singing the national anthem, a welcome by Mayor Norris Gerhart and a prayer by California Ministerial Alliance member and pastor of First Baptist Church, the Rev. Jeremy Anderson.
The festival goers watched performances on the North and South stages. The Car and More Show and food booths drew people to the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. Disc golf took others to Proctor Park. The 73-foot-long submarine sandwich, sponsored by Cargill, was built in front of the courthouse.
The "Last Call" band on the Barbecue Stage on Third Street provided music for the adjacent barbecue contest and the washer board tournament.
The Children's Barnyard and Kid's Corner, and the available food and drink, delighted the youngsters. The Diaper Derby provided entertainment for parents and grandparents, as they watched racing babies.
The event closed out with a Figure 8 race competition.
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 issue of the California Democrat newspaper for additional extensive coverage of the 27th annual Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival.