Five decades of Huckleberry fun will culminate this weekend, as the 50th Annual Huckleberry Festival gets under way full force in Jay.
From annual events such as the gospel sing and carnival, to new additions such as the RFC Music Fest, Jay Chamber President Becki Farley said there's something for all ages at this weekend's festival.
The festival, which kicked off last weekend with the annual Huckleberry pageants and the Screen on the Green, resumes on Friday, June 30, with the start of the RFC Music Fest and the Carnival.
Most of the events take place on Saturday, July 1, with the pinnacle of the festival - the free gospel show and firework display - taking place on Tuesday, July 4.
"I'm so excited for it," Farley said. "I'm most looking forward to have we have changed things. Things are a bit different this year, and I'm excited to see how things all work out."
Some of the changes include moving the carnival to the parking lot of the RFC Center, located on Highway 127, just outside of Jay.
"We never have enough room or parking at the football stadium," Farley said. "People are always having to park two or three blocks away. I always fear that a child will run out in traffic and be hurt.
"This gives us a place to spread out."
Farley said the addition of the music fest, is also exciting.
"This is the first year of many we hope," Farley said. "We used to have concerts, and a lot of people asked us to find a way to bring it back."
The addition of the stage at the RFC Center, also gives the gospel music concert - which precedes the fireworks on July 4, a new home.
"This gives us a real stage to have our show, and a place to shoot off fireworks that is safer for those who attend," Farley said.
Another addition to this year's festival is the expanded Arts and Crafts Show. The event, which spans Saturday and Sunday, at the Delaware County Community Center, in Jay, not only features vendors inside the building but in a tent next door.
Farley said Dustin Holland has worked to expand the craft show, drawing in numerous vendors for the two day event.
This year's parade, set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, features a "1960s theme" in honor of the decade the Huckleberry Festival began.
Farley said many of the past Huckleberry Queens and Princesses will be on hand, taking part in the parade, as well as this year's royalty.
The festival will also give volunteers a chance to show off the changes made to the Mariee Wallace Museum, including the renovations and new exhibits.
"There's just something for everyone," Farley said.
The event will have two nights of fireworks, with the first taking place at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 1, at the RFC Music Fest, and the second at approximately 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 4, following the annual gospel sing.
Both shows take place at the RFC Center. While admission is charged for the concerts on Saturday night, Farley said people will be able to view the fireworks on both evenings from a variety of locations.
"You'll be able to see them all over town," Farley said. "Even if you don't have a ticket [on Saturday], you'll be able to sit in town and see them. If you attend the carnival on Saturday night, you'll be able to view the fireworks display. Just because you don't have a ticket, doesn't mean you can't view the show."
The show on Tuesday, like in the past at the football stadium, is free and open to the public. That show is organized by members of the Jay Fire Department, and funded through donations from the City of Jay, Grand River Dam Authority, and the Jay Chamber of Commerce.
Ultimately, Farley hopes people walk away from this year's festival, having had a good time.
"I hope they see how people pulled together, and what a great community this is," Farley said. "I hope they enjoy themselves, and want to come back."
Huckleberry Pie Contest
Farley said entries are needed for this year's Huckleberry Pie Contest.
Registration for the event takes place at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, at the Mariee Wallace Museum in downtown Jay, with the contest starting at 9 a.m.
Farley said past participants have been tapped to serve as judges, and participants are paid for their entries.
Huckleberry pie makers receive $15 per entry, while fruit pie chefs earn $8 per pie. Following the contest the pies are auctioned off by chamber volunteers, with the proceeds designed to offset the festival expenses.
Three prizes will be awarded for both huckleberry and fruit pies, with each type of pie having two divisions: a youth (18 and under) and an adult (19 and above). Prizes are $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third for huckleberry pies, and $50, $25 and $10 for first, second and third for fruit pies.
RFC Music Fest
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Huckleberry Festival, a two day music festival will take place at the RFC Center outside of Jay.
On Friday, the event go from 6 p.m. to midnight and include Rick Lamb and the Phinaddicts, Read Southall Band and Travis Kidd, with special guest Johnny Dale Roberts.
On Saturday, the music begins at 2 p.m. with The Struggle, Night Train, Bryce Dicus and the Mercenaries, Confederate Railroad and Dead Metal Society, along with special guest Zachary Ryan Hall.
Saturday's event will include fireworks, at 9:30 p.m. Food vendors will be available on both days. Alcohol will be served, and strictly monitored. No outside beverages will be allowed.
Tickets are available at www.frcmusicfest.com/tickets. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the event. Tickets are also available locally at the Jay Chamber of Commerce office, and the Arvest and Grand Savings Bank branches in Jay.
Huckleberry Festival Carnival
Advanced tickets for the Huckleberry Festival Carnival, set for Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4, at the RVC Pavilion, Jay are now being sold at the Arvest Bank and Grand Savings Bank branches in Jay.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the box office. Pre-sale of wristbands end at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Wristband nights take place from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, June 30, Saturday, July 1, or Sunday, July 2, and are only good for one evening.
The annual Stan Jones-Caleb Barnwell Memorial Huckleberry Run will take place beginning at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 1, at the J.B. Earp Football Stadium in Jay.
Farley hopes this year's race, which is being put on with the help of the Cherokee Nation, is one of the best.
Registration begins at 6:15 a.m., the with 5K starting at 7:30 a.m. and the fun run beginning at 7:35 a.m.
Entries are $20 for the 5K and $10 for the fun run, in advance, or $25 and $15 on the day of the race.
For more information, persons interested may call Tricia Nichols at 918-530-9175 or 918-253-1764.
Huckleberry Car Show
The 50th Anniversary Huckleberry Festival Car Show will take place on Saturday, July 1, on the courthouse square in Jay.
Registration will take place from 8 a.m. to noon, with the awards presentation set for 1 p.m.
Cost is $12 in advance (by June 30) or $15 on the day of the show. Classes (include Original and Custom in each) include Classic 1940 or older, Chrome and Fins 1941 to 1960, Muscle 1961 to 1980, Early Modern 1981 to 2000 and Modern 2001 and newer.
Awards will be presented in each class, with a best of show, best of show motorcycle, firefighters choice, chamber's choice, mayor's choice and people's choice as well.
For more information, persons interested may call the Jay Chamber of Commerce at 918-253-8698 or Brandon Alexander at 918-801-2597. The event is hosted by the Jay Fire Department.
Saturday, July 1 is filled with a variety of activities including:
• all day - Shopping cart bingo, Homeland Grocery Store;
• 6 a.m. - Huckleberry Run registration, J.B. Earp Stadium;
• 7 to 11 a.m. - Pancake Breakfast, Senior Citizens building;
• 7:30 a.m. - Huckleberry Run, J.B. Earp Stadium;
• 8 a.m. to noon - Huckleberry Car Show registration, Courthouse square;
• 8:30 to 9 a.m. - Huckleberry Pie Contest registration, Mariee Wallace Museum; Frog Jump registration, DC Friendship Home.
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Huckleberry Arts & Crafts, Community Center;
• 9 a.m. - Huckleberry Pie Contest, Mariee Wallace Museum; Frog Jump, DC Friendship Homes;
• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Gunny Sack Races, McDonalds.
• 10 a.m. - Huckleberry Parade, Main Street, Downtown Jay: Turtle Derby Registration, Pizza Hut;
• 10:30 a.m. - Ice Cream & Huckleberry, Grand River Abstract; Pie Auction, Courthouse Square;
• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, Senior Citizens Building;
• 11 a.m. - Huckleberry Milkshakes, Mariee Wallace Museum;
• 11 a.m. - Huckleberry Jam, Community Center Lawn:
• 11:15 a.m. - 34th Annual Turtle Derby, Pizza Hut:
• Noon - Hog Fry, Jay Masonic Lodge;
• 12:30 p.m. - GSB’s Digging for Worms, Grand Savings Bank.
• 1 p.m. - Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joe’s Y Store
• 2 p.m. - Arvest Carry an Okie, RFC Pavilion Parking Lot
• 2:30 p.m. - Horse Shoe Tournament, RFC Main Outdoor Stage (Music Festival Participants Only)
• 3 p.m. - Root Beer Chug-A-Lug Contest, Sonic:
• 4 p.m. - Firefighter Kids Spray, Jay City Park:
• 9 p.m. - Fireworks, RFC Main Outdoor Stage.
For more information about the festival, persons interested may call the Jay Chamber of Commerce office at 918-253-8698.