finalized

By MANDY BOURGEOIS, Chronicle staff writer

The Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce hopes to build on many years of success with the 29th annual Red Oak Founders Day, with events scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7, and Saturday, Sept. 8.

“The theme is ‘Step Back in Time.’ We want to get back to the true meaning of Founders Day — celebrating our founders and our history,” said Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce president Dana Rodes.

With the theme in mind, the chamber invites citizens to dance in the street at Main Street Plaza on Friday, with Wade Hatton and the Texas Hat Band taking the stage at 7 p.m., sponsored by Fred’s of Red Oak Steakhouse. Wade Hatton and the Texas Hat Band received the 2007 Live Band of the Year award from the Academy of Texas Music in March.

This year is the second year of the street dance, an event that debuted at last year’s Founders Day. The event will include food and drink vendors. Rodes encourages those planning to attend to bring their personal lawn chairs.

Saturday’s events will begin at 10 a.m. with the annual Founders Day parade, sponsored by Knapheide, to be led by an U.S. Marine Corp. color guard.

“A Marine color guard will lead the parade and Knapheide will be represented right behind the color guard,” Rodes said.

Local groups, organizations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to participate in the parade, which shares the Founders Day theme.

Registration forms for parade entries are available at the chamber office, located inside Prosperity Bank, 500 North Interstate 35 Service Road in Red Oak. Entry as a participant in the parade is free of charge.

The parade begins at Main Street Plaza, travels down Main Street to Red Oak Road, then turns on Live Oak, leading to the Founders Day festival at Red Oak City Park.

“The festival will begin immediately following the parade,” Rodes said.

The festival experienced unprecedented success in 2006, with organizers estimating attendance of 3,000 people.

“Last year was the biggest turnout ever and we want to top that this year,” Rodes said. “This is a great opportunity for organizers to have fund-raisers and great exposure for businesses.”

Rodes said that booths are great ways to display business or organization services, as well as offer a variety of products, from the usual festival foods to arts and crafts.

Booths are available for rental — $50 per space, $60 with electricity.

“We hope to have 100 booths this year,” Rodes said, adding that the deadline for renting booths is Friday, Aug. 31. “So far we have arts and crafts, candles, a petting zoo by A One of Kind Pony Party, sand art and face-painting.”

The festival always provides plenty of entertainment for children, with bounce houses, a Tiny Tot Train, a slide in the shape of a tiger provided by Lonestar Backyards and Buildings committing to the festival. For the adults, Red Oak Chiropractic and Therapy offers on-site massages.

Food vendors have already signed up for booth space and will offer a variety of tasty treats to satisfy even the pickiest eaters palate — roasted ears of corn, barbecue and turkey legs by the Pink Pig, funnel cake, ice cream, snow cones, Joey’s Burritos and more.

Other events include a dunking booth by the Red Oak High School Band Boosters and an all-day volleyball tournament.

Antique automobiles will be on display and various groups will perform during the day, including bands and cheerleading squads, students at Dance Xpressions, a dog training demonstration by Canine Counselors and a martial arts demonstration.

“The Girl Scouts are doing ‘100 years of Girl Scout Uniforms’ — a fashion show displaying Girl Scout uniforms,” Rodes said.

Groups or bands interested in scheduling performances should contact Cathy Harris at (972) 617-1234.

One addition to the Founders Day festival is the appearance of Henry Crawford, a professional living history and material culture lecturer who will present the living history of Texas during the 1840s. While dressed in period regalia, Crawford will display various items from the time period, as well as discuss their use and the daily life of Texans living during the 1840s. Gail Goth will join Crawford, presenting living history regarding the lifestyle of women during the Civil War era.

Crawford was recently featured in the Texas section of the August issue of Southern Living. He has served as a living history and material lecturer on a variety of subjects for 27 years, and has consulted for and appeared in various educational television productions regarding various periods of Texan and American history.

“I’ve been having a blast and I’m not ready to quit,” Crawford said. “Texans have such a love for their history — other states don’t have that. They don’t have the same affection for their history that Texas does.”

The chamber will sell Founders Day T-shirts for $10 before and during Founders Day.

To rent a booth, schedule a performance, sign up for the volleyball tournament or parade or for more information on Founders Day, call the Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce at (972) 617-0906.

E-mail Mandy at mandy.bourgeois@elliscountychronicle.com.