The Fayette Royal Bull Thistle Festival, with the theme, “Thistle Roots Run Deep,” starts Saturday with a parade at 11 a.m.
The parade begins at the south end of town at the corner near the Nazarene Church, and proceeds down Fayette Street to Railroad Street, the end of the parade route. The parade entries are announced and described by Tom Molitierno and John Marlatt, seated at the stop light.
From there, people park their cars or parade entries and go to the park for a bite to eat. To date, the parade has a variety of interesting entries. Persons with an entry who have not notified the festival committee can call 419-237-2830. or 419-237-3061.
Crafts, food booths, and entertainment will be arranged in an approximate circle around the village park. A variety of food, from barbecue chicken to Bull Thistle burgers, milkshakes , and French fries, will be available.
The committee designed the arrangement to make it more accommodating to the crowd. Guests can sit on bales of straw and listen to the music or find a table and eat while they take in the overall atmosphere of the event.
The Bull Thistle Committee will be located at a table where guests can buy a T-shirt for $10 or register their Bull Thistle for judging. Each year, people enjoy watching the judging and seeing the winning entries chosen. Judging begins at 1 p.m.
Festival information is also available at the Committee table, where festival-goers have often taken time to reminisce about their experiences at previous festivals. The festival organizers encourage those attending the festival to bring a lawn chair to watch the entertainment, and again on Sunday for the church service.
What better way to dispose of bull thistles than to enter them in a contest. Each entry is judged on height, girth, number of blossoms, and the fibrous content of the stalk. The coveted grand prize, a “Golden Hoe,” is given to the best of show entry. The People’s Choice winner will receive the Frank Wilson Award. And there is a booby prize for the least desirable entry.
The festival’s chicken barbecue starts at noon, and features chicken made by Port-A-Pit Barbecue.
Introductions of the festival King and Queen, the coloring contest winners, and the Citizen of the Year will be announced from the stage at approximately 12:15 p.m.
Musical performances will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m., featuring Steve Snider as the emcee. Performers will include The Coffee House Sampler, with musicians Heidi Paxton and Joe Kellion; and the duo of Mike McRobbie and Kirk Beck representing winter performers at the Opera House. The performances will end about 2 p.m. when the featured band, Liberty Rain, will take the stage and perform until 4 p.m.
Arts and crafts will be available in Normal Grove Park at 9 a.m. There will be a variety of crafts; several new crafters will display their work as well. Once again, art from the Bean Creek Valley area will be featured in a special booth, where items from a variety of artists and makers of homemade crafts from the area will be included. For a fee, there will also be a surprise craft-making event.
Other festival attractions will include ball tournaments, an inflatable maze for kids, and a special bale maze that is free for all ages.
The annual fireworks display, sponsored by Phantom Fireworks, will be held at dusk at Fayette High School. Parking is available at the school.
On Sunday, there will be a community church service in the Grove beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The Bull Thistle Festival was begun by a group of people who were interested in furthering the positive things about living in the small town of Fayette. Herb Woodard and Jim Marlatt originated the festival name, noting it was humorous to honor a weed proclaimed the national flower of Scotland that is also a noxious weed farmers try to eliminate.