By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — The Turtle Days festival might be four months away, but planning is in full force for the annual event which brings many into the community.
The theme for this year’s festival, which is in its 68th year, is “Oscar’s Still Great on our 68th.” The festival runs June 14-17.
There are several changes to this year’s festival, which was recently approved for a two-year contract with the town.
One change is in the parade time, which has been moved to earlier in the afternoon. The parade will begin at 4 p.m. with lineup at 2 p.m. Officials believe that will allow for attendees to have more time to enjoy the amusements after the parade on the last day of the festival. The parade was previously at 6 p.m.
Additionally, there will no longer be a beer tent at the PNC Bank parking lot, due to low attendance. Festival coordinators are working with area bars to host bands for Friday, June 16, and Saturday, June 17, in an effort to provide a similar atmosphere.
Other updates include:
• Paratus Air will be providing helicopter rides in Diamond #3 at the town park.
• A new amusement company, Houseman Amusement, will bring more rides and concessions.
• Presale tickets will be available at area businesses prior to the festival. There will also be deals for wristbands.
• There will be more family musical entertainment on the stage in the evenings.
• Saturday, June 17, will be Kids Day at the Park. There will be dance groups performing on stage, a cornhole tournament and the annual Turtle Races. All vendors/merchants/midway will open at 11 a.m. that day as well.
• The Scout Building will be host to a “Where it all Began” showcase of the real story of Oscar the Turtle. There will be memorabilia, picture boards, eye witness stories, news coverage and other “surprises.”
There are several fundraisers planned to support the festival.
The Turtle Days Fish Fry will be held at the American Legion on Friday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Turtle Days Tom Fletcher Memorial Texas Hold Em’ Tournament will be held Saturday, April 22, at the American Legion. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the tournament begins at 2 p.m.
The Turtle Days Tom Fletcher Memorial Golf Outing at Eel River Golf Course will be held Saturday, June 3, with registration at 7:30 a.m. and tee-off at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is available at turtledays.com.
Oscar’s annual 5K will be held on Saturday of the festival, June 17, in front of the school. Arrive at 8 a.m. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. Pre-registration is available at turtledays.com.
For more information, visit the Turtle Days website or follow Turtle Days on Facebook.
Sponsorships for the festival are also available. Forms can be found on the Turtle Days website.
The Churubusco Town Council approved a two-year contract with the Turtle Days Association to continue the festival. The association agreed to make a donation to the town and complete a community service project.
Last year, the associated donated $1,000 and completed a project in the woods at the park.