by Lynn Meredith
Maple Park—Started in 1998, Maple Park Fun Fest features three days of bands, crafters, vendors, a toilet bowl race and a 5K fun run, all taking place over Labor Day weekend and culminating in a fireworks display. This year’s festival lives up to its mission of being a small-town festival with big time entertainment.
The celebration begins on Saturday with a 5k run/walk. The day ends with music by Hillbilly Rockstarz, followed by the parade on Main Street at 6 p.m. Hi Infidelity will round out the evening at 9 p.m.
New to the lineup this year is the inaugural Bags Tournament. This bean bag toss will pair up competitors to vie for the top prizes. The tourney will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at North Park.
The Lion’s Club will sponsor a Kids’ Make and Take where kids can make a craft to bring home. At 1 p.m., the Toilet Bowl Race draws the crowds to watch teams compete for “Best in Show,” the best decorated toilet bowl, or for first place as the fastest toilet bowl in town.
The Maple Park Fire Department will hold a dedication ceremony and other activities, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Fire Station. The department will dedicate stone pavers with the names of firemen who have passed away etched in them to be placed in the Memorial Garden in front.
Sunday begins with the American Legion Breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon. After a year break, the car show will return from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday on Main Street. At 2:30 p.m., PK and the Groove will play, followed by Back Country Roads at 5 p.m.
The winner of the cash raffle fundraiser will be announced on Sunday at 8 p.m. The first-place winner will receive $1,000; $500 for second place and $250 for third place. Tickets cost $10. By 8:30 p.m., the crowds are ready for the fireworks (rain date is 8:30 p.m. Monday).
On Monday, the Legion will once again serve up its breakfast buffet, and the men’s slo-pitch softball tournament will continue. Crowds can wash down the activities of the day with some brews in the Beer Garden, open daily at 11 a.m.