Weird to honor an ostrich? Here are alternatives - East Valley Tribune: News

Weird to honor an ostrich? Here are alternatives

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2008 6:15 am | Updated: 9:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Twenty years ago, Chandler needed a festival."We were looking for a signature event to bring people in to the city," Joan Saba explains.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/page/flash?h=535&w=800&file=ostrich/ostrich.swf',810,630);"> Your guide to the Chandler Ostrich Festival

But the festival needed a theme, says the former Downtown Community Partnership president. "So we started delving into our history." And they came up with ... the ostrich? "It seemed like a good thing to capitalize on," she laughs.

Twenty years later, Chandler's Ostrich Festival has much to recommend it. (See sidebar.) But if a gawky, bald bird with pterodactyl gams wins the vote to be your mascot, you shudder to think what came in second.

"We thought of cotton," Saba recalls. "In fact, there was a cotton festival for a while, but it never took off." An animal might do better, they decided - a bug-eyed, cranky animal. "Ostriches were a part of our history."

True. In the 1920s, when moonshine flowed freely and Weird Ladies Hats were the rage, ostrich feathers sold for $250 a pound. "Dr. Chandler (the city's founder) had an ostrich farm, as did others." Saba says. OK, the bird was well-connected. But didn't Chandler have other animals, nobler animals, who might represent it more proudly? We can only wonder what might have been.

THE CHANDLER COW FESTIVAL

Moo-ve on over to the Chandler Cow Festival! Folks young and old are invited to "Get Bossy!" with thick burgers, tall milkshakes and lots of suede! The festival kicks off with the traditional "Parade of Cows" (followed immediately by the "Parade of Guys With Hoses and Shovels"), then on to Tumbleweed Park and the thrilling occasional movement of our "Bovine Rodeo," where riders mount the backs of our feisty, middle-aged Holsteins and stay on until dusk or everyone gets bored. Don't skip the midway, where our "Cow-ology" exhibit makes cattle science fun with kid-friendly games like "Know Your Cud," "Udder Disaster!" and "What stomach is it in, now?" The CCF honors Chandler's beef and dairy industries - and what better way to honor an animal than by preparing it deliciously? Nothing says "history" more than a steamin' slab o' sirloin, chased with unpasteurized milk! The Chandler Cow Festival! It's everything you herd! (Discounts available for vegans and the lactose intolerant.) OK, maybe not ...

THE CHANDLER SHEEP FESTIVAL

Walk, run, or blindly follow to the prickliest fun this spring! The Chandler Sheep Festival recalls the "Woolen Renaissance" of the 1930s, when our shaggy friends anchored the local economy. Thousands of citizens will celebrate by donning their "woolies" and standing in the sun downtown. (What's that smell? It's Depression-era Chandler!) Then, 5,000 sheep will pass in solemn review. Spot one that doesn't look confused, and you'll win a flat-screen! Over at Tumbleweed Park, our synchronized Shearer/Sculptor teams will strip a sheep, then mold its wool into likenesses of A.J. Chandler or Bono. Our Cableknit Duel features knobby-knuckled competitors declaring "Sweaters at dawn!," then brandishing needles and clicking away until Christmas. Gourmands will cherish our food court, with gyros and a variety of mint jellies. And fashionistas will enjoy the wave pool, with the latest in woolen swimwear and flotation accessories. All this, and Cashmere, the Hyperventilating Clown! The Chandler Sheep Festival - mutton like it! OK, strike two. Moving on ...

THE CHANDLER CHIHUAHUA FESTIVAL

It took a special kind of dog to tame the West. We're not sure what kind of dog it was, but Chandler's Chihuahua Festival honors the bulbous-headed creature that was there when it was over. Celebrate America's favorite canine/handbag accessory with a boisterous weekend of half-pint racing, tiny sweaters and watching where you step! The fun begins on Arizona Avenue with the traditional Chandler Chihuahua Parade (made mercifully short by the Doberman Drill Team, bringing up the rear.) Then it's on to Tumbleweed for the Chihuahua rides! (Note: Children must be 8 or older for a Chihuahua to ride them.) The midway will glitter with celebrities this year! Between the "Shiver-Off" and the "Piercing Yip Contest," you can meet the "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" dog and Tinkerbell, Paris Hilton's embittered pet, promoting her biography: "Don't Look in Your Purse." Try the vienna sausages at the Kibble Booth, and don't forget the Steve Buscemi look-alike contest! The Chandler Chihuahua Festival: It's ... an excellent reason to go with the ostrich. OK, never mind. Party on.

The real festival

Parade: Marching bands, floats and performers, 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade begins at Arizona Avenue and Ray Road, traveling south on Arizona to Chicago Street.

Ostrich races: Where the big birds rrrrrrun! Camels and zebras, too!

Ostrich Alley: It's not where tough ostriches hang out, but where you can find fresh emu eggs, ostrich burgers and ostrich jerky. (So I guess tough ostriches really are found there.)

Live entertainment: Country star Collin Raye will kick off tonight's festivities. Rock band Vertical Horizon will anchor the Saturday entertainment, and Los Palominos and Luz Rios will take the stage Sunday. A variety of East Valley youth groups will entertain on the community stage, and kids can enjoy the "Jest in Time" Circus of Fools, the Rhinestone Roper Family Fun Stage, the Ultimate Firetruck and interactive games.

Food: Beyond the bird-related fare, folks can dine on corn dogs, turkey legs, Indian fry bread and funnel cakes.

Carnival rides: State fair-style rides, including a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and a bungee jump.

Shopping: The festival will feature more than 150 arts and crafts vendors.

Kids stuff: An entire section of kid-friendly carnival rides, plus face painting, water tattoos and craft projects in the Kids Zone.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/page/flash?h=535&w=800&file=ostrich/ostrich.swf',810,630);"> Your guide to the Chandler Ostrich Festival

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