By Sam Jack
CLEARWATER – The 2019 Clearwater Fall Festival starts this Thursday, Sept. 19. Activities and performances will continue through Sunday afternoon.
New this year, the annual chili feed will expand into a chili cook-off, with prizes for first, second and third place entries.
To enter, bring 6 to 7 quarts of chili to Clearwater Elementary East at about 5 p.m. on Friday. The public is invited to come eat chili from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
This is the second year for the Clearwater Fall Festival BBQ Cookoff. Twelve teams of amateur barbecue chefs will spend Friday night and much of the day Saturday cooking pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken and beef brisket for a panel of judges.
At 5:30 p.m. following judging, the competition entries will become a barbecue feast at the City Park shelter house. Meal tickets, $10, are being pre-sold at Iris Blossoms and local banks.
For a full schedule of activities and performances, visit www.clearwaterfallfestival.com. Here are some of the highlights:
• Carnival rides: Open 7-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; also open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
• Corvette for Caleb: Friends of injured youth Caleb Tobias have spent the last several months selling raffle tickets to help his family with medical expenses.
Tickets will be on sale during the festival, and the winner will be drawn during the awards ceremony, 7-8 p.m. on Saturday. The winner gets a classic 1984 C4 Corvette.
• Kid’s Day: Thursday is kid’s day at the festival. Kids will start creating sidewalk chalk art at 10 a.m. At 5:30 p.m., elementary students will perform.
Following their performances, kids can enjoy a magic show, balloon twist, face painting and old-time games. Bouncy houses will be up and running, and will continue all day on Friday and Saturday.
• Music: The Times-Sentinel highlighted the festival’s musical offerings last week. Amber Goldermann and Weston Price will play acoustic country music from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, followed by a dance party from 8 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, the Blue Man Crew and Bel Canto perform from noon to 1 p.m.; DJ Dave spins records from 3 to 7 p.m.; and Big Fat Fun performs from 8 to 11 p.m.
• Parade: The annual parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. The route starts near the intersection of Ross and Fourth, loops through Clearwater, and ends up back at the same intersection.
• Clearwater “Band of Indians” Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show: Held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 505 Ross Avenue, with all proceeds from this sixth annual car show benefitting Clearwater High School’s instrumental music program. Day-of registration is available, $10, and over 70 awards will be presented.
• Food: In addition to the barbecue and chili contests, food trucks and vendors will be serving in City Park from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Biscuits and gravy will be served from 7 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
That’s not all. For a full schedule and additional information about Clearwater Fall Festival events, visit www.clearwaterfallfestival.com.