Celebrating the Fire Ant

Why would anyone want to celebrate the fire ant?
Come find out March 28-29 in Ashburn GA in the 19th annual Fire Ant Festival. This free festival features the usual arts and crafts and plenty of festival food. This year’s festival has a carnival, a sanctioned barbecue cook off and tethered hot air balloon rides. Friday night a free fireworks show will light up the night and on Saturday a free street dance will be held at Heritage Park.
“We made a decision in the first year to make the festival free to everyone,” said chairman and founding festival committee member Ben Baker. “The only thing you have to pay for is whatever food and drinks you want, anything you buy from arts and crafts vendors and rides. There’s no charge to see the bands, dancers, contests and fireworks.”
The annual Strawberry Cookoff delivers big prizes, bragging rights and an entry into the state strawberry cookoff. Visit www.fireantfestival.com for information. Strawberries must be supplied by this event’s sponsor.
The barbecue cookoff is a double-points event sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Pre-registration is required. Visit www.fireantfestival.com for information. The payout is $8,200 with $2,000 going to the grand champion team.
The festival also has chances to win some cash. The MantyHose contest puts a dozen men on stage with red fishnet stockings. The first man to get them on – without runs! – wins the cash. The Fire Ant Calling Contest also delivers up money. So how do you call a fire ant? Give it your best shot and you could win. Sign up for both on Saturday morning of the festival
For the big money, the prize from last year’s Find the Fire Ant Contest has rolled over. This year’s payout is a whopping $1,000. The contest begins March 1 with clues posted at festival sponsor businesses. You must visit the businesses to get the clue. No clues will be given over the phone.
A complete list of clues and clue locations is published in The Wiregrass Farmer, Turner County’s newspaper. The rules are also in the paper.
The Fire Ant Scrambler is a biker poker run sponsored by ABATE and is open to anyone no matter what they ride or drive. Signups are Saturday morning by 10 a.m. Kickstands go up at 11 a.m. Call Earl Perry at 229-567-1233 or Ben Baker at 229-445-0923 for more information.
A bragging rights contest is the annual Lip Sync Contest. Think you’ve got what it takes to challenge some veterans? Call the Chamber of Commerce at 229-567-9696 to sign up for this contest and register your song. You must pre-register with the chamber.
The annual Fire Ant Run, sponsored by the Turner County Council to Prevent Child Abuse, is held March 29. Those who sign up in time get a t-shirt. Call (229) 567-2537 for more information or to sign up. Visit www.fireantfestival.com for information.
The Pet Parade is Saturday morning. Bring your dog, cat, chicken, lizard (yes we’ve had a lizard) or steer. Even your pet peeve is welcome. There’s no entry fee and all pets get a participation ribbon.
Arts and crafts vendors are welcome to apply to come to the festival. More information can be found at the website, www.fireantfestival.com or by calling 229-567-3436.
General festival information may also be found at the website, www.fireantfestival.com or by calling 567-3655, 567-9696 or 567-3436.