Onion Festival 2009, fewer activities, plenty of fun

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009

Photo by Jennifer Fike
Reyna and Joy Ellen taste a sausage dog from the Masons' booth.

By Jennifer Fike
Staff Writer

Shiny, vintage cars sat on display in the parking lot... the smell of onion rings filled the air... rounding the west side of the campus vendors stretched up the sidewalk offering raffle tickets and funnel cakes... Saturday marked Princeton’s fifth-annual Onion Festival and a good time for all.
Though organizers like James Southard, Lions Club member, said the event may have been smaller than in previous years, citizens still crowded the parking lot and cafeteria of Princeton High School to see what the Onion fest had to offer.
Dance contests, fun runs, and of course an array of fried foods were just a few of the offerings of the city’s largest community event.
Nearly seventy vendors set up shop at PHS April 25, one of which was the event organizer the Lions Club.
Stationed beside the courteous, persistent salesmen from the Boy Scouts, the Masons had their work cut out for them selling their onion rings, sausage dogs, and other concessions to raise money for their scholarship fund.
Though the Masonic Lodge may have been off to an early lead with their generously-portioned $2.50 onion rings, the scouts managed to stay in the game by adding funnel cakes to this year’s menu. The cakes seemed an instant crowd-favorite, and not a bad deal at $3. For the same price, patrons could also stock up on boxes of Girl Scout cookies that filled a table 100 feet down the sidewalk, a delicacy one boy scout shamefully confessed to purchasing.
Throughout the day, Bill Wright, President of KKVI, a radio-station based in Garland, kept crowds entertained with an eclectic mix of music, and an almost-impromptu dance contest. Four individuals and one group, the “Nerd Herd,” battled for the title of Onion Fest Dance Champ 2009. Dancing to “Stayin’ Alive,” Ricardo Ruiz took the crown, or more aptly a pair of sunglasses and a bottle of water, which were donated by the fill-in DJ, Kevin Boyce, who owns Brick House Productions.
For visitors yearning for live-music, bands from the junior high and high school shared stage time in the cafetorium with Fellowship Pointe’s Jesus Lovin’ Hobos. Hip Hop Nation’s dance crew also performed during the day’s events.
Inside the high school, the Lions also sold raffle tickets and hosted a live-auction. Approximately 35 people stayed to bid on a variety of prizes that ranged from handcrafted items donated by the crafts vendors to vintage bicycles, which went for just over $10 each.
Outside, just before auctioneer Carl Rider, pastor of First Baptist Church, opened the bidding, Lions announced the winners of the Car Show. 29 vehicles were entered, John Bradley’s 1956 Ford, built by Jesse Hekler of Princeton, won “Best Car in show.” Rico Gomez took home the trophy for best truck.
Earlier in the day, the Fun Run drew record participants, 162 to be exact. Awards were given to the first place winners in six age categories. Results for those races can be found at www.princetonherald.com.
Though the Round Robin Tennis Tournament was smaller than last year, organizer and Lions Club member Brad Megert said participants had fun. This is about encouraging people to play tennis, he said. Participants played singles and doubles matches, strictly for fun.
Several other events were cancelled this year, including the cook-off, Little Onion Blossom Pageant and the Onion Bowl football tournament. This was our first year hosting solo, Anthony said. The Chamber of Commerce has co-hosted the event the last four years, but this year opted to rent space for their business members instead of participating in the day’s planning. Lions President Philip Anthony said that though there were fewer activities, the Lions were happy with the Festival.

There were fewer activities, but the ones we had seemed to go well Anthony said. Lions' treasurer Susan Tillman estimated Tuesday that the group raised nearly $6,000 to support their charitable programs, including their eyeglasses drive, Stuff-the-Bus, and other giving throughout the year.

"We were pleased to have raised so much money. That will go a long way in helping kids in this community," Anthony said.

Photo by Stan Fike
Several enthusiastic children take an early lead during the fifth-annual Fun Run Saturday morning.

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