The 36th Annual Good Ol’ Days Festival drew in large crowds over the weekend as it introduced a variety of new events and activities while the forecasted rain held off.
“We’ve had a really great day,” Good Ol’ Days board member Rhonda Dunn said as the event came to a conclusion, adding it was one of the biggest events she had seen.“We’ve seen a lot of happy people, complaints are really low—really a great weekend.”
Between 60 and 70 groups took part in “The Great Outdoors” parade Friday evening, including area churches and a variety of businesses and organizations such as Care to Share, Mercy, the Fort Scott National Historic Site, FirstSource, Briggs Auto and the WardKraft family.
A variety of concerts were performed, including groups such as the Vogt Sisters, the Red Garter Show and Shotgun and Lace. Vendors, food trucks, pony rides, a petting zoo and a carnival were also available throughout the weekend.
In honor of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Fort Scott, the historical site gave demonstrations and had a number of volunteers dressed in costumes from the mid-1800s era.
New features included the addition of the Bourbon County Great Outdoors Expo, which included free children’s activities, a dunking booth, casting contest and a nationally sanctioned turkey calling competition.
As part of the expo, both Adam LaRoche, retired major league baseball player, and Justin Martin of the Duck Dynasty TV series were available for autographs and a time for questions from the audience. Some questions included topics such as Martin’s personal life, his history with the show, when he killed his first duck and stories from filming that never made it on the show.
“It’s good to be here,” Martin said. “I’m glad to be back in America’s heartland. This is who we are—we’re just hard-working Americans that take care of our families and our friends and just have fun.”
Martin also spoke of his faith in Jesus Christ, encouraging his audience to consider two commands form the Bible: love God with all your heart and love others as yourself.
“I’m never gonna be given a microphone and not give that message,” Martin said.
LaRoche told FortScott.biz that he thought the expo was successful, explaining that he helped organize it through his relationships with participating businesses and organizations such as Buck Commander and Duck Commander, though the credit of planning the event went to others.
“I thought the turnout was great,” LaRoche said, adding he had not attended the Good Ol’ Days in at least 15 years because of his career in baseball. “It’s a great way to revamp the Good Ol’ Days…I think this was a great start to hopefully bigger and better things.”
Dunn also said she heard comments from visitors who were enthusiastic about the expo, which she says will likely be continued in future years as they make adjustments, corrections and additions.
Check our Facebook page each day this week for photos from the weekend events.