Red Oak City Park was the place to be Saturday as several hundred people turned out to celebrate Red Oak’s 27th annual Founders Day festivities.

The event began with a parade, starting from Main Street Plaza, traveling down Main Street to Red Oak Road to Live Oak Road and ending at the city park, where numerous vendor booths and activities were set up for the entire family to enjoy.

With more than 80 booths offering foods, arts and crafts, souvenirs and information, families were seen walking hand in hand to see what this year’s festival had to offer.

Vendors included Joey’s Burrito, Jazzercise, Red Oak Police Explorers, Red Oak Lions Club, Red Oak Chiropractic and Therapy, Citizens National Bank, Red Oak Firefighters Association Local 4533, Lights Galore and More, Red Oak Home Schools of Texas, the Pink Pig, One of Kind Pony Party, Danny Humphrey and others.

Co-owner of Joey’s Burrito, Carol Martinez, and other booth owners said they were very pleased with the turnout.

“With the amount of people and vendors here, it’s really great to see how organized everything is,” Martinez said. “It seems that the whole Red Oak community came out to support this event. I can truly say that this is one of the best festivals we’ve been to and we’ll definitely be back next year.”

“This is my second year participating and it’s even better than it was last year,” said Linda Frazier of Jazzercise. “There are quite a few people who came out to support this event so I will come back next year.”

“This is our first time to participate in Founders Day because we just opened in January,” said Pam Thomson of Red Oak Chiropractic and Therapy. “The flow of people is really good so we will be back again next year.”

Visitors to the event also were pleased.

“We came out last year but there are many more booths this year,” said Lisa Cook, with her husband, Jim adding, “This is my first time coming out and I am pleased with the turnout … the number of people and booths here. So far, I’ve enjoyed the festival and will probably come back again next year.”

Making it an all-around event, there were also several bounces houses, a climbing wall, a puppet show, a petting zoo, hair and face painting, dunking booths by the Red Oak Band Boosters and other activities for the children to enjoy.

Several children reported the parade was their favorite part of the day.

“I really liked the parade and the bounce houses,” said Jonah Lacross, 5, with his 9-year-old brother, Joseph adding, “ I really liked the parade and just having fun. I look forward to coming back next year.”

“I liked that the parade was much longer this year and plus I liked the horses,” said Victoria McCoy, 5, with her father, David, adding, “The parade was a lot better this year because I think they had more participation and plus, I think the children really enjoyed it.”

Wearing caps and sunglasses to shade away from the sun, people said they were enjoying the festivities in spite of the heat.

“It’s hot out here but at least we have a little shade,” Laura Lacross said. “My family came out last year and it was nice but I believe that this year’s event is much better. What brought us back this year were the friendly atmosphere, the family fun and the community. It just seems much bigger with a lot more people here.”

“It’s really hot but we are still enjoying the festivities,” said Terrell resident Alma Salinas of her daughter and niece. “This is our first time coming out and it seems to be a very family-oriented event so we will most likely come again next year.”

As music played loud over the speakers, there were performances by the Red Oak ISD School marching band, cheerleaders, junior high Hawkeye High Steppers, Girl Scouts of Red Oak and dances from Dance Expression that attracted a large crowd to form a circle around the basketball court to watch.

There were also several historical demonstrations in support of this year’s theme, “A Step Back in Time.”

Demonstrations were put on by the blacksmith and owner of Ole Village Blacksmith in Mansfield, John White; the Buffalo Creek gunfighters of Back in Time Mercantile Store in Waxahachie, who demonstrated a live gunfight and had a booth explaining the importance of gun safety to children; Henry Crawford, curator of Texas Tech Historical Museum, who did living history from the 1860s; and Gail Goth, who did live Civil War ladies demonstrations.

The Girl Scouts also did a fashion show and display of 100 years of uniforms on loan from the Girl Scout Museum.

Also new to the event was a classic car show by Midlothian Classic Wheels, with at least 60 vehicles on display.

“There were just many more people here than last year,” said Janie Hamm of Ferris. “We didn’t have much of a chance last year because it rained us out, but this year is great.”

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@waxahachiedailylight.com.