The area around Snowden Grove Park is set to get pretty busy the remainder of the week, as the city’s 39th birthday is celebrated with the annual Springfest event, now underway through Saturday.
“This is a great tradition for our city,” Mayor Darren Musselwhite said about the festival.
Activities officially began last Saturday morning with the annual Springfest Prayer Breakfast, held at Dale’s Restaurant.
The midway on the Snowden Grove grounds, run by PBJ Happee Days Shows of Marion, Ark., opened to visitors Tuesday afternoon and evening, and was open again Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and evening, starting at 4 p.m. each day. It is considered Wristband Nights for the carnival where there is free admission to the park and unlimited rides are available with a $20 purchase of a wristband.
Friday, activities begin at 12 noon for the carnival, the Youth BBQ event begins with check-in at 2 p.m. and the cooking begins at 4 p.m. Judging in the various categories will start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
On Saturday, the main Springfest BBQ event begins with check-in at 8 a.m. in the morning. Judging in the various categories, both for the Memphis Barbecue Network (MBN) and Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions (KCBS), starts for the MBN at 10 a.m. and the KCBS at 12 noon on Saturday. The contest awards ceremony is Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, admission to the grounds is free before noon and $10 for those age 11 and older after noon. It remains free to youngsters 10 and under on the weekend, and cash only is accepted.
The city’s concert promoter Live Nation presents Santana’s Global Consciousness Tour Saturday night at 7 p.m. Different this year is that separate tickets for the show are required, as part of the city’s agreement with the provider that has Live Nation provide and produce the show in exchange for acquiring the ticket sales.
Musselwhite pointed out in his Mayor’s Report blog post about Springfest that this will be the last year for the event before the area undergoes some paving and landscape work that seems to be especially needed when the rains of April pelt down on the festival.
“This will be the last year our BBQ teams and guests will have to stand in the mud,” Musselwhite wrote. “This project will pave and beautifully landscape the area where our BBQ event occurs every year, including lot designation with appropriate electrical sources. It will definitely solve the mud and drainage problems in this part of our park and also make the area more attractive.”
Musselwhite added the pavement and landscaping work on the grounds will serve a dual purpose as parking during concert events the Amphitheater hosts. It is part of the city’s 2017-2021 Parks Expansion and Enhancement Plan, funded by tourism taxes.
Construction on the paving and landscape work will start shortly after the conclusion of this year’s Springfest.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.