Colfax’s Mineral Springs Days is kicking off this weekend, and event organizers are expecting a large turnout this year. After last year’s poor weather which kept many participants home and the others huddled beneath tarps, this weekend’s forecast of sunny weather in the high 80’s bodes well for the annual celebration.
Cindy Van Dusseldorp, chair of Colfax Main Street’s promotions committee, said that this year’s event will have some new and exciting things to offer attendees along with the celebration’s mainstays.
“We usually do the street dance and the demolition derby on separate nights, but there was an event in Baxter on Friday that we thought might conflict with the schedule, so we hosted them both on Saturday,” Van Dusseldorp said. “The new arrangement should give people plenty of options in what they want … they overlap so you can make it to both if you want.”
The demolition derby, which is hosted at the Jasper County Fairgrounds, is running from 7 p.m. through 11 p.m., and tickets are $7 for each adult and $3 per youth from ages 4-13.
The street dance, from 8 p.m. through midnight, will feature live music from Farm Rock. Attendees can get in for a $1 admission along with a canned food product to be donated to the food pantry.
Emily Perry, the Colfax Main Street director, said that the festival is a great way to showcase what Colfax has to offer.
“We need to bring people into the community, and this event really does … It’s not just Colfax people, I hear from a lot of towns with people coming,” Perry said. “This is a wonderful community, and showing them what we have and getting everyone together downtown is great … We don’t get the chance to see everyone very often, so it’s a good reason to get together and help out the local stores too.”
One of the event’s biggest draws is the vendors and activities that will be available throughout Saturday on Howard Street. Vendors selling anything from rustic jewelry to hamburgers will be set up from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and will feature a mix of local organizations and businesses along with some outside retailers according to Van Dusseldorp.
Another large event to look forward to is the Skunk River Cruzers classic car show and swap meet, according to Perry.
The car show will run from 8 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. by the Mineral Springs Park and gazebo. Registration is $15 per car, although the event is free and open to the public for viewing.
This year’s Mineral Springs Days will also feature a unique new activity on Sunday.
“The Colfax historical society and the American legion are going to be doing a cemetery walk out at McKeever cemetery,” Van Dusseldorp said. “That’s a new addition that we think people are really going to like.”
The cemetery tours will start at 5 p.m. and continue through 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Participants will “walk back in time” and encounter actors dressed in period costumes at various locations in the cemetery. Each actor will then tell the story of their character’s life and the history of the area. Some of the character who will be portrayed include Jacob Binkerd, Thomas McKeever, David Young Cross, Mary Pease Turner, Anna Kvasny, Faye Pierce, Lilas Wadsworth and Alan Wheeler.
The cemetery is located on County blacktop 117 two miles north of Colfax, on the west side. Tickets for the tours are $7 and will be available in advance at the Jasper County Museum in Newton, the Main Street office in Colfax and Weirick and Patterson Pharmacy in Colfax. Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour.
The sponsor for this year’s festival is Van Wall equipment, located north if Colfax.
“Sponsors like them are the only way we can afford to continue these events,” Van Dusseldorp said. “From the pony rides and the blow-up playsets to the banners and advertising, they make it possible for us to put this on … We operate solely on donations and we can’t do it without the help of the community.”