STANTON — Friday afternoon in Stanton felt like the deep breath before the plunge. The carnival — a first this year for Old Fashioned Days — the food vendors, the merchants, the live music stage; all were gearing up for the thousands of visitors that flood the town each year for what is one of the area’s largest small-town festivals.
Old Fashioned Days officially got underway Wednesday and runs through Sunday, but Saturday is the day that typically sees the most “action.”
According to Damon Davis, who serves on the Old Fashioned Days planning committee, those who attend this year’s event will have more than enough to do. The list of events is long and inclusive; everything from the Old Fashioned Days Parade to “Air Dogs” competitions to some of the area’s best live music will be offered throughout the day and into the evening.
“Estimated turnout for just Saturday’s events (last year) was around 5,000 people,” Davis said. “That was really nice, but we’re slowly progressing and always looking for new things to add on.”
The festival has always featured live music, but this year organizers are looking close to home for that talent. All bands and live acts this year are being handled by Encore Music in downtown Stanton.
Kenny Abbott, who manages Encore Music, said that the move toward local acts was intentional.
“We wanted all local bands this year,” Abbott said. “It draws in (fans) from close by and helps keep the event focused on Stanton. We have plenty of local talent for people to enjoy.”
Some of that talent took the stage Friday during the final phase of a talent contest. More seasoned acts will appear tonight and play late into the evening. Abbott himself is playing with two of the groups featured this evening.
Even before it opened, the carnival was already attracting youngsters anxious to take their turns on the Tilt-a-Whirl, ferris wheel and other classic rides.
Seven-year-old Alex Mollner, who lives near Sheridan, was in town Friday watching the finishing touches go on the midway.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “It is going to be really fun.”
A complete schedule of Old Fashioned Days events is available online at stantonofd.com.