Look out, Pleasant Hill. The minions are taking over — at least for a day. This year’s annual Family Funfest will take place all day Saturday, July 26, and this year the day-long party has a theme: the short, yellow, denim-overall-wearing minions of “Despicable Me” fame.
“All our volunteers will be wearing daisy-colored shirts with overalls on the front,” Cathy Jensen, executive director of the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce says. “We’re encouraging (people) to come as minions, too.”
Last year, the event had more than 750 people in attendance, which astounded the organizers.
“People just kept coming and kept coming and kept coming,” Jensen says. “People were sitting everywhere, but you could see it (the movie) from everywhere. They just flocked in.”
Though the night was cold last year, Jensen says families were bundled up and enjoying the show, which was displayed on a 40-foot LED screen.
Jensen and the Chamber board are anticipating a similar turnout this year.
Caiti Williams, assistant executive director of the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce, is new to planning events with the Chamber and is looking forward to this year’s Family Funfest and not just because she had a hand in finalizing the touches.
“I like family things that I can enjoy with my daughter,” Williams says.
She says the best part of the event is that most of it is free. Though vendors will be able to charge for food, Jensen assures prices will be reasonable.
“It’s affordable,” Williams points out. “If you have a family of seven, you can’t go to the movies.”
Though the events will be very similar to last year, Jensen and Williams are anticipating residents will have just as much fun as they did during the previous Family Funfest.
The events kick off at 10 a.m. with a parade filled with floats, candy and fun.
“This year we’ll have 130 floats, so it’s bigger,” says parade organizer Bill Eisenlauer. Last year’s parade consisted of 120 floats from area businesses.
The route will remain the same with the starting point at the Pleasant Hill Fire Department, 5151 Maple Drive, turning right on Shadyview, then again onto Oakwood, with the long line of floats finishing at Doanes Park.
Eisenlauer also promises the candy will be bigger and better this year with news that some of the participants bought larger-sized candy bars to toss out.
“This is really about promoting the community and the kids,” Eisenlauer says.
The annual car show will take place at Pleasant Hill Diner, located at 5015 E. University, with registration starting at 9 a.m. for participants.
The car show is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., according to event co-organizer Betty Thurman. Participants in the show will be eligible for awards, which are determined by participants and attendees, who are asked to vote for their favorites. Voting will take place all day, with awards being handed out at 3 p.m. As with years past, more than 20 awards will be given out, including the Mayor’s Choice Award and the Top 20 Awards.
Haywire, a local band and regular entertainers at Pleasant Hill Diner, will be performing at the car show from noon – 3 p.m.
“Everything is the same,” Thurman says of plans for the car show. The event has worked so well in the past the organizers didn’t feel the need to tweak it.
The car show has become an integral part of the Family Funfest activities. Thurman says last year they had more than 100 cars registered, and the diner is hoping for the same kind of turn out.
If anyone is interested in registering a vehicle at the show, Thurman suggests showing up early to get a spot.
“There are no limits on cars,” Thurman says. “All vehicles are welcome.”
The registration fee is $15, but the event is free for attendees who can also sign up for door prizes and enjoy some of their favorite foods inside the diner.
New this year will be the food and business vendors.
“We couldn’t allow vendors last year because we weren’t in charge of the movie,” Jensen explains. This year, however, the Chamber is in charge of all aspects of the event and is allowing vendors to serve and charge for food.
Some food attendees can expect to see include ice cream, cupcakes, fountain sodas, pizza, a grill and popcorn.
“We’re not allowing any duplicates,” Jensen explains. That way, she says, the vendors don’t have to compete with each other for customers.
Something new this year will be the carnival games. Local businesses have been invited to bring games and prizes to the event as an alternative to selling or giving away food. One business, Jensen says, is going to set up a homemade Plinko board where contestants can drop a disc and watch it bounce its way into a spot to determine their prize.
“They’ll be giving away a couple of our minion T-shirts,” Jensen says. “It’s really fun.”
There are at least nine carnival games much like the Plinko board planned for the Copper Lake Creek Park area.
The police department will also be participating by selling glow sticks and other items as a way to do some fundraising for their chosen charity.
There will also be inflatables for the kids to enjoy, so make sure any young ones bring a pair of socks. This year’s inflatables are set to include a joust, a wrecking ball, a pirate and a double lane slide. For safety reasons no glasses or shoes can be worn inside, and cell phones should be left outside so they don’t get broken.
The regular playground will also be available for the kids to play on.
Sticking with the minion theme, the movie in the park will be “Despicable Me 2” and will start at 7:30 p.m. There is no fee for the movie. Attendees just need to bring chairs or a blanket to sit on and enjoy the movie on the big screen out at Copper Creek Lake Park.
Jensen points out that there are no drive-in movie theaters close to Pleasant Hill, so this is the next best thing. Parents can enjoy the same kind of entertainment they did as kids with their children without having to leave town.
“Kids are always looking for a reason to dress up,” Williams says.
And they will have one at Family Funfest. The Chamber is encouraging anyone who wants to dress up as minions. Jensen and Williams hint that there could also be a little “Happy” dancing going on before the movie starts.
Though there are food vendors, attendees are more than welcome to bring picnic baskets or their own food to the event.
Jensen requests on behalf of the Chamber that anyone attending the event please be courteous of businesses which are still open by not parking in their lots. Parking will be provided off Williams Street and at the Riley Resource Group building and in front of any business that isn’t open.
After the movie, a fireworks display over the lake will wrap up the day.
“The fireworks over the lake just glow,” Jensen says. “It’s so pretty.”
Though there were still a few kinks to work out when we spoke with Jensen, she says she is anticipating Family Funfest is going to be a wonderful, fun-filled event.
Though Family Funfest isn’t until Saturday morning, another family event will be rocking Pleasant Hill Friday night.
Jazz in July
Jazz in July will also be held at Copper Creek Lake Park. The event will start at 5:30 Friday evening with High Society Big Band playing around 6:30. This event will also have inflatables for the kids and food vendors.
“This is the first time a Jazz in July event will be held on the east side,” Jensen says.
Another benefit, beyond bringing free family fun to Pleasant Hill, is bringing in residents from surrounding areas.
“This is great for us,” Jensen says. “We want people to come over and see what we have. That brings people to our grocery stores, our banks and other places..”
All the planned events, including Family Funfest and Jazz in July, are free for attendees. They are going to be a great way to spend a fun day with the family and for the Chamber and local businesses to show their appreciation for Pleasant Hill.
“It’s just free fun for families,” Jensen says. “We want everybody to come on out.”