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story.lead_photo.caption Vendors work at their stand to prepare tasty treats for festival-goers Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at California's Ham and Turkey Festival. Photo by Austin Hornbostel / California Democrat.

Last weekend's Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival was a success, despite a rainy afternoon.

The 29th annual Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival took place last Saturday, bringing with it nearly 100 total vendors, a healthy crowd, and spotty rain in the early afternoon. Sandra Ratcliff, Executive Secretary of the California Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber and other festival organizers are pleased with the turnout this year, as well as with how smoothly the event went.

"Some years, there's lots of little hiccups, but this year it just seemed like everybody was where they needed to be at the right time and things just fell together well," Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff said after the weekend, she'd already heard from a few vendors about how pleased they were with the crowd's business, along with festival-goers' kindness and helpfullness throughout the day. All told, Ratcliff said the festival ended up with 97 vendors after a few last-minute additions.

Turnout for the 5K Run/Walk to start the morning was more than 50 participants, and Ratcliff said heavy participation continued from there with a well-attended parade to kick off the day's events. The Burney Sisters and Sheltered Reality Drumline drew crowds at the South Stage, Ratcliff said.

The Kids Corner, this year operated by the elementary and middle school PTO, went very well, Ratcliff said.

"There was a lot more (participation from children) in the festival, which was good because that brings parents out, too," Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff said car show numbers dwindled this year, though she said she anticipates that the rainy weather might have had an effect. Nonetheless, she said organizers might discuss yet another move for the show to see if that might have a positive effect on participation, after the show moved from its last location of the Moniteau County Fairgrounds.

Looking ahead to next year's festival, Ratcliff said the event committee plans to meet at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the City Hall meeting room to nail down any changes or additions to the event. With next year being the 30th edition of the annual event, Ratcliff said something that recognizes this milestone is fairly likely. The public is welcome to attend the festival committee's meeting, where the group will also give final reports.

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