For the citizens of nearby Crocker, the Frisco Railroad has always played a big role in history. On Aug. 31, the small city will celebrate that history during the 47th annual Railroad Days festival, with food, vendors, games, live music, a parade and more. Most events take place in and around the Crocker Community Park.
“The vendors start to set up at 8 a.m.; everything is ready by 9 a.m., and the parade starts at 11 a.m.,” said Sarah Ransome with the Crocker Park Board.
First held in the early 1970s, the festival draws between 3,500 and 5,000 visitors annually.
“We have food venders, crafters; we have clowns coming in this year, a face painter — just a bunch of different vendors,” Ransome said.
She noted that there is still time for organizations, military units, businesses, churches or other groups to register for the parade. Entries will line up at Crocker School and proceed to the park. For more information, or to sign up to be in the parade, call the Crocker Park Board at 573.855.1506.
“You don’t have to live in Crocker to be a part of the parade,” she said. “There is also a float contest associated with the parade — all the entries will line up to see which one best represents the parade theme. This year’s theme is, ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”
During the festival, children can play in free bounce houses, and attendees of all ages can test their pitching skills at a dunk tank.
From noon to 6 p.m., the festival will host an ATV Rodeo with 12 different classes. Admission is free. Those wishing to compete can do so for an entry fee of $10 per class.
“This is the first time we’ve done an ATV rodeo,” said Kevin Gresham, who is coordinating the event. “Basically, it’s like barrel racing, just like you would see in a traditional rodeo with horses — but we do it with four-wheelers and dirt bikes.”
The ATV rodeo has classes available to riders of nearly all ages. Riders under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present for registration. Otherwise, riders simply have to show up with their dirt bike or four-wheeled ATV and pay the entry fee.
“The biggest thing we want to get across is that there is no experience required to enter,” Gresham said. “We want everybody to be able to participate.”
The ATV rodeo will culminate with a main event: an Open Outlaw Class.
“It’s an open class that anybody can enter,” Gresham said. “Nobody knows what the course is going to be, so no one can come out and practice for it. We’ll see somebody come out and compete to get bragging rights as the first Open Outlaw Champ.”
At 7 p.m., the festival will continue with a free street dance, featuring music from Rolla rockers Joshua Allen and the Show-Me Saints.
“We’re looking forward to being a part of such an historic event in Crocker,” Allen said.
He described the group’s style of music as, “a mix of Red Dirt, Southern Rock, and Texas Country… with our own little twist.”
Ransome expects the concert to be a fun time for everyone.
“We have a really good band coming in this year,” Ransome said. “The street dance is free, and takes place right in the middle of town.”
For more information, visit the Crocker Community Park Facebook page.