Chamber works to improve Wild Duck Festival

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Trumann Chamber of Commerce has begun working on the Wild Duck Festival early this year in an attempt to improve the festival. The festival will be held at the Trumann Sports Complex grounds on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5.

Since 1982 with the closing of the Singer Company, the chamber has been in charge of the event. The Duck Festival began with the annual Singer Barbeque for employees in 1948. The employees and their families made up most of the town at the time.

"Vendors from all over the U.S. came," said Linda Smith, chairman of the Wild Duck Festival. "It was a community and countywide thing."

Smith worked last year and has begun working this year to get the Wild Duck Festival back to its original meaning in the town. In recent years, the festival participation has declined. However, Smith said about 30 vendors participated last year, with the majority of them coming back for this year's event.

Smith said the decline of the festival has been a result of an economic change and an interest change within the community. With that in mind, she has worked to appeal to everyone by booking a variety of vendors, musicians and entertainment events.

Mike Watson, owner of Watson's Fish Shack in Trumann, made one of his business's first appearances in the town at the 2012 Wild Duck Festival. Watson said despite some weather mishaps, his business did very well and he plans to bring it back to the festival this year.

Along with the foods and crafts vendors, Smith hopes to have more churches and school groups participating this year. The festival will also include a golf tournament, a pageant by the Poinsettia Club, the annual barbeque contest, a Duck Calling Contest sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and a Bench Press/Dead Lift Challenge.

This will be the first year for the Bench Press/Dead Lift Challenge. The challenge will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. Both men and women are allowed to enter.

"We also want to appeal to everyone with a full range of music," Smith said. "We are open to ideas for bands. We will possibly have a big concert in the building this year."

Booth rental for the festival is $40. Smith suggests reserving a spot early due to limited electricity access. For more information about any events, how to volunteer or booth renting, please contact Linda Smith at (870) 483-1600 or (870) 530-0077.

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