From the queen pageant on Wednesday evening to music in the park Sunday afternoon, it was a fantastic five days for the annual Country Days festival.
Thousands of visitors and locals took in food, fun, music and activities during the chamber of commerce-sponsored event. Several area residents came away winners from the many contests and competitions.
Wednesday evening saw the Country Days Queen 2009 competition held at the Centene Center. By the end of the evening it was Molly Barnes crowned as queen for the coming year. First runner up went to Whitney Welch, while second runner up was taken by Hannah Good.
Then Thursday evening a group of about 30 individuals who could carry a tune — of course, as always some can carry more than others — turned out for the Accent Marketing/J98 All Star Talent competition. That evening a pool of finalists were chosen to perform on Saturday in Long Park in front of a larger crowd of spectators. The winners would eventually go on to open the Aaron Tippin concert that evening.
Business jumped into the “Gettin’ Down On The Farm” theme by decorating their windows or lobbies for an annual Windows and Lobbies Scavenger Hunt. In the Large Lobby competition it was Ozarks Federal Savings and Loan taking first place, with First State Community Bank taking second, and US Bank coming in third.
In the Small Lobby division, KREI/KTJJ took first ahead of Bank Star of the Leadbelt’s second placing, and Belgrade State Bank’s third place finish.
As for the Window competition, Team Emerson garnered top place, while Buffalo Wild Wings took second.
Country Days “weekend” officially began with the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Friday morning. Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum marked the official start with music, a motivational talk and the traditional Plank Road Inn cinnamon rolls. Landrum encouraged the crowd to enjoy the festival and be kind to one another.
Rev. Bill Miller offered a “sermonette”, discussing issues such as safety, kindness and good weather before providing the ceremonial opening prayer.
Landrum greeted the crowd and asked that everyone join in a short sing-along of songs of the church led by Don Vieth. Landrum also made special mention of World War II veteran Gene Cole, who was in attendance at the breakfast. He dedicated the event to Farmington businessman Bill Krekeler, who could not attend due to health concerns.
Merchants plied their wares Friday in the downtown area as banks offered treats including cotton candy, kettle corn and hot dogs.
Early afternoon several teams from local businesses clashed in head-to-head battle at the annual Corporate Games. This year’s event moved away from the traditional office-themed competitions, instead relying on the “Gettin’ Down On The Farm” theme of this year’s festival for games. Teams rolled hay bales end on end down a course, shucked and tossed ears of corn into bushel baskets, and “milked” fluid-filled surgical gloves strapped to their teammates.
First place honors and the traveling trophy went to The Blue Crew/Pepsi Americas. Second place was claimed by Big Blue/New Era Bank. The Centene Cyclones/Centene Corporation finished in third place.
Rides and food booths opened Friday evening. A free concert was held at the park gazebo. Across town, cyclists of all ages took part in the Little Caesars Moonlight Bike Ride.
Runners and walkers started their Saturday earlier than most by participating in the Edward Jones “Invest In Yourself” Run/Walk. WInners of that competition were not available as of press time. Watch for the results in next week’s Farmington Press.
The run and walk competitions opened with registration at the St. Joseph Gym adjacent to Long Park at 5:45 a.m. The one-mile run stepped off at 7 a.m., while the five mile run and walk started at 7:30 a.m.
The annual First State Community Bank Diaper Derby got under way at 9 a.m., on a carpeted stretch of street in front of the downtown bank branch.
In the race, first place was taken by Kristin Stahl. Second went to Colton Messer, with George Messer rounding out the field with third place. In the docorating contest, first went to Porter Allen, second to Evan Clowus, and third to Jonah Montgomery.
For the farmers and farmers-at-heart, an antique tractor show ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show included “turtle races” were tractor drivers try to idle down their machines to be the last to cross the finish line.
Car enthusiast converged on the Courthouse Annex parking lot for the Most Wreck-Amended Country Days Cruise In from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Businessman Dan Combs took the one trophy, the “Queen’s Trophy” handed out by Country Days Queen Molly Barnes, for his car and boat display.
Anyone looking to see Country Days from a different perspective could take an airplane ride at the Farmington Regional Airport. Several out-of-town guests flew in to enjoy the weekend, and their aircraft were parked at the airport along with the usual planes. The local RC modelers club had a display of radio-controlled aircraft on hand.
Quilters took their handiwork to the Quilt Show, Tea Room and Bake Sale at Farmington Presbyterian Church. The annual event drew a steady stream of spectators as usual.
This year saw another very popular event. A model railroad exhibit was set up by Tom Ray and Jon Cozean, with other model railroad enthusiast helping out. The exhibit also included presentations on the history of rail use in the Farmington area.
The Hensco/Radio Shack Kid’s Parade precede the start of the McDonald’s Country Days Parade. The big parade began at the Farmington High School and Civic Center and made its way east on Columbia Street to downtown, across Henry Street, and back west on Liberty Street to the high school.
As for winners in the parade Float division, Sam Scism Ford took first place. Coming in second was Made in the USA, with Memorial United Methodist Church taking third.
In the Vehicle/Walking division, Parkland Cyclists took first place, with Farmington School of Dance taking second and Dance Creations taking third.
In the Equine division, the law office of Katherine Hardy took first, with Cross Trails Cowboy Church taking second and Willis Farms taking third.
Then at 1:30 p.m. the final rounds of Accent Marketing/J98 All Star Talent Show happened at the park gazebo. In the youth division first place went to Konnor Johnston. Second place went to Leslie Blevins, with Britny Goldsmith placing third.
In the adult division it was Kelsy Johnston taking first, with David Jackson coming in second, and Ashley Dunlap winning third place.
This marked the first time in Country Days history that sisters took top honors in both age divisions. The girls served as opening act for Aaron Tippin during the concert later in the evening.
At 2:30 p.m. the J98/Domino’s Country Days Bed Race pitted local teams against each other on Columbia Street in front of First State Community Bank.
The music cranked up at 7:30 p.m. with pre-concert entertainment by Route 67. At 8:30 p.m. country crooner Aaron Tippin took the stage and performed what many people later said was an excellent show. This marked Tippin’s second visit to Country Days.
Country Days continued on Sunday with Church In The Park starting at 8 o’clock. Arts and crafts booths opened for a final day, as did the railroad exhibit. An old fashioned ice cream social was sponsored by Dairy Queen, with the weekend’s events completed with the sounds of the Music Makers Band from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the park.
Watch next week’s edition for more winners from the many competitions held during the Country Days weekend.