Nothing says summer in Iowa like a small-town festival, and nothing says family-friendly fun like the Bondurant Summerfest. From a community parade to a jam-packed midway, once-in-a lifetime hot air balloon rides and spectacular fireworks, this year’s Summerfest offers something for everyone.
Here’s the scoop
The Bondurant Men’s Club hosts the annual event, designed for kids of all ages, on Monday and Tuesday, June 16 and 17.
“Back when we were the Jaycees, some of the guys running the show said they used to have a carnival in town when they were kids,” says Jerry Pritchard, the Club’s president. “They said it was so much fun. So, we lined up a carnival, set it up in the street, and it went over well. We add a little bit every year.”
Decades later, Summerfest has morphed into a two-day event, drawing attendees from Bondurant and beyond. Most of the action takes place downtown at the intersection of Main Street S.E. and First Street S.E.
“We’ll have tables and chairs in the street,” says Bruce Cordes, Men’s Club secretary. “The kids are off riding the rides, and the parents and grandparents will sit out there for hours and visit. It’s a big social event.”
Leading off the festival on Monday is a 6 p.m. parade. This year’s route is the same as last year’s, starting at the corner of 10th Court S.E. and Lincoln Street, to Fifth Street S.E., west to Grant Street, north to Second Street N.E. and east to the Farmers Elevator. You’ll see plenty of floats, antique cars and tractors and perhaps a politician or two since mid-term elections are just around the corner. Event organizers promise plenty of candy for everyone’s sweet tooth. Pre-registration isn’t required, but participants should arrive at the parade’s starting point by 5:30 p.m.
Following the parade, it’s time to stroll the midway. Sam’s Amusements is back with approximately 14 rides for the little and not so little thrill seekers. If spinning around on a carnival ride isn’t your idea of a good time, try your luck at a game of chance or stop by the concession stand for cotton candy or funnel cakes. Advanced ride tickets are on sale now at City Center and from Bondurant Men’s Club members. The cost is $20 for 26 tickets.
While you’re at the City Center, you might also want to purchase a raffle ticket or two. The cost is $1 each. According to Al Ihde, Men’s Club treasurer, this year’s top prizes include an Android Tablet from Bondurant Laser Wash, a gas grill from Legacy Bank, auto detailing from Willis Auto Campus and an LED TV and Blu-ray player from Midwest Basement Systems. Additional prizes include artwork, craft items, tools and entertainment packages. More than 150 prizes will be up for grabs. You’ll find the silent auction at 106 First Street S.E. on Monday and Tuesday night. Raffle ticket sales close at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, and the silent auction ends at 9:30 p.m.
“Local businesses donate prizes or money for the raffle and auction,” Ihde says. “They give us a lot of nice gifts.”
If bingo is your game, stop by the Trailhead Depot each night between 6:30-7:30 p.m. Shelby Hagan, Bondurant park and recreation coordinator, returns to call bingo for the second year. Bingo cards cost $1, and the lucky winners receive half of the pot.
“I think it’s important for the community to have fun together,” says Hagen. “Bondurant is a bedroom community, and most of the time people just come here to sleep. Lots of young families move to Bondurant, so Summerfest gives them a chance to meet new people and experience everything this town has to offer since multiple clubs and organizations participate in some way.”
Local businesses and community groups can pay $10 for informational booth space. Biking enthusiasts can visit the Bike and Bondu booth to register for the seventh annual 44-mile bike ride scheduled for Saturday, June 21. Registration is $20.
Another winning recipe for a successful festival is mouthwatering food options. The Bondurant Lions Club plans to fire up its smoker early Monday morning to prepare brisket and pork loins. The Bondurant Christian Church returns to sell walking tacos and homemade bake sale items. Joining them will be the Boccawich Food Cart and Finley’s Curbside Beastro, selling pizza by the slice.
This year’s entertainment promises to hit all the right notes. A rousing dance performance by the Sugar Creek Cloggers is set for Monday night. Also performing on Monday night is After Shock, a returning Summerfest favorite. This popular ’80s hair band will rock all your favorite tunes. The Rich Webster Band will take the stage on Tuesday night with classic rock and current hits.
The Pet Parade, sponsored by the Bondurant Animal Clinic, takes place on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. Local judges will award prizes in various categories, such as best pet trick, smallest pet and largest pet. You’ll find the parade on First Street S.E. There is no charge to enter your pet in the festivities, but registration is required. To register, stop by the Clinic before the event or at the parade site on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
Get ready to say “ooh” and “ahh” while watching Tuesday night’s fireworks presented by J & M Displays. When it starts to get dark, head to the bleachers at the Bondurant-Farrar Middle School football field, so you don’t miss any of the excitement. The start time is approximately 10 p.m.
New this year
Are you ready to cross off “ride in a hot air balloon” from your bucket list? For a nominal fee, you can float above the treetops in a tethered balloon ride on Monday night for two hours. If the winds are too strong, or the weather is inclement, the rides will move to Tuesday night. Rides will be offered for a two-hour period.
Also debuting this year is a pedal tractor pull competition on Tuesday night. Run by Hawkeye Pedal Tractor, the event is for the younger crowd, kids 4-11. There are eight different categories based on age groups. Pre-registration starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by the competition at 7 p.m. There is no fee to enter. All first and second place winners will receive trophies and can compete at the state pedal tractor competition in Marshalltown in September.
A Can Do Club
The Bondurant Men’s Club, a community-based organization, is committed to working together for community improvement, youth activities and individual growth. Summerfest is their only fundraiser.
“Every dime we make goes back into the community one way or another,” Pritchard says. “We’re not a national or state organization. We’re just on our own.”
Club members volunteer to be in charge of the various Summerfest duties.
“We match up the new guys with the experienced members. We mentor them, and then they can take over the next year,” states Pritchard. “The group is looking for more members. We’re starting to get lots of younger guys now, which is good.”
The group meets the first and third Wednesday of each month and is busy year-round, helping to make Bondurant a great place to live.
“Whether it is youth programs, Christmas decorations, the library or Easter egg hunts at no cost, everything we do is for the betterment of the community,” Cordes states.
“We’re looking at doing a pergola out at Lake Petocka,” Pritchard adds. “Hopefully, we’ll get it done before Summerfest.”
If the Men’s Club had its way, Summerfest would evolve into a community-led event. But why wait for next year to get involved? It’s not too late to help make a difference in 2014’s festival. You can volunteer, sponsor an event, donate an item for the auction, enter the parade, rent booth space and invite your family and friends to attend. For more information, call Pritchard at 515-669-6432.
“We encourage people to come to Summerfest, enjoy the fun, meet other people,” Cordes says. “A lot of new people are moving to town, and what a great way to meet your neighbors and friends. There is something for everyone.”
That’s right. Whether you are 1 or 91, you’re bound to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun at the Bondurant Summerfest. Where else can you find balloon rides, clogging, smoked brisket, a pet parade, a pedal tractor pull and fireworks all in one place?
See you at Summerfest in Bondurant!