The 16th annual Waxahachie Crape Myrtle Festival had a host of activities for all ages, from airbrush tattoos to foot long corn dogs to a rock wall. The myriad of vendors and games occupied everyone, while they waited for the Battle of the Bands and the fireworks show.

Bonney Ramsey and the Crape Myrtle Festival committee included a broad spectrum of food vendors to supply the crowds in attendance.

Flavor after Flavor, a concessions company owned by Kathleen Marshall, supplied the traditional festival foods, such as foot long corn dogs, funnel cakes and nachos, as well as the infamous tornado fries. The spun potato topped with cheese and bacon was a crowd favorite, according to Nisha Marshall, Kathleen’s daughter and coworker.

Other popular vendors included Kona Shaved Ice, a perfect remedy to the heat of the evening. H-E-B, the sponsor of the fireworks show, sold hot dogs, chips and drinks for a dollar each, grilling the hot dogs at the company canopy.

The vendors enjoyed the evening as much as those in the crowd did. Nisha Marshall and Randy, an H-E-B employee, both said the event brought the community together in a unique way, drawing people from their homes and helping them get to know neighbors.

Accompanying the food vendors were a number of activities for children of all ages. Brett Hartsell’s company, American Party Entertainment, provided a sports-themed bounce house, an alligator slide and a Superman obstacle course, the most exciting prospect, 6-year-old Brandon said. Hartsell also provided a rock-climbing wall a favorite of the older children.

Eric and Lindsey Strong, parents of 4-year-old Blake, were particularly excited about the bounce house, a safe but fun activity for their son.

Kids watched in awe as Dana Elsom created animals and hats out of balloons. She created a pink butterfly and added a face and other details, which thrilled the recipient who dashed off to show her family.

Airbrush tattoos of all sizes and colors were popular, as were the educational toys H-E-B provided, which included bookmarks, pencils and educational workbooks.

H-E-B handed out paper crowns, which many kids and parents sported. The H-E-B buddy also made an appearance, posing for pictures and dancing with families to the music from the Battle of the Bands. 

The final activity particularly for kids was a dance contest, which served as intermission during the Battle of the Bands. Kids and parents danced in front of the stage to the song “Jump” by Van Halen, as representatives from 106.9 FM The Ranch tossed T-shirts into the crowd.

In the words of Nisha Marshall, the festival “brought everyone together,” serving the community by connecting local business, bands, families and traditions. The food and activities were an integral part of that success.

Mallory Pratt is an intern for the Waxahachie Daily Light and ACM Newspapers Inc.