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Frisco Festival celebrates 30 years in downtown Rogers

story and photos by Nancy Peevy, special to The City Wire

The Frisco Festival celebrated its 30th birthday on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 22-23) in downtown Rogers with a huge party for all of Benton County.

Frisco Festival is a great time for people from all over the area to come for a good time, said Dana Mather, Main Street Rogers director.

“It’s more than just Rogers because a lot of people from eastern Benton County come and participate,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity for people to get together and enjoy an afternoon and an evening with everyone downtown and having fun.”

To kick off the party, two 1980s music cover bands, Boom Kinetic and Members Only, performed on Friday evening. Mather said they were invited to honor the event’s beginning in 1984.

“We are playing up the Festival and Main Street Rogers, the organizations were both founded in 1984 and so we are playing up that theme tonight,” she said.

Activities for all ages continued on Saturday, beginning with the Eliminator 5K run at Lake Atalanta. Later, bicycle enthusiasts rode in the “Race for the Spike” where they raced the train from downtown Rogers to Avoca and back. Bikers who beat the train won a commemorative railroad spike. After that, families could participate in a six-mile poker ride where cyclists rode on a marked route, and drew a playing card at each check station. The object was to have the best poker hand at the end of the ride.

Other activities on Saturday included a car show, carnival rides, a kids’ zone featuring a bungee trampoline, remote-controlled cars, giant inflatable slides and a climbing wall. The A&M Railroad also offered free train rides from downtown Rogers to Avoca and back. Leah DeVorak and her family rode the train and said the trip, which took about an hour, was interesting and just the right amount of time for their 2-year-old daughter.

Mather said another thing people look forward to at the Frisco Festival is all the different food.

“From the catfish fry and Whitey’s chicken and the chili cook off and the pancake breakfast first thing in the morning, and the barbecue dinners ... there will be food all the time,” she said. “I have tried to get a different variety of concessions too. So we have Baller food trucks here and then Pure Joy Ice Cream from Siloam Springs is here. And then, just funnel cakes and corn dogs and stuff that people look forward to at the Festival. Lots of snow cones and lemonade too.”

She also said they are happy to have the beer garden atmosphere now so they can sell beer and wine.

There were only a few small changes to the Festival this year, Mather said.

“For example, the Rotary club decided to provide a dinner on Saturday night, instead of doing their pancake breakfast. They felt like they could raise more money that way, and I thought 30 years was a great time to make changes like that. So when we started talking about that, First Baptist Church at 8th and Olive decided they wanted to take on the pancake breakfast as a community outreach, so they are offering it for free,” Mather said.

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Wade Tomlinson, missions and teaching pastor at First Baptist Church, said the church wants to support the city.

“We love downtown Rogers and want to give back to the city as much as we can. With our starting our campus back at Olive Street, we felt the timing was perfect for us to do this and so we are just happy to give to the community,” he said.

The Frisco Festival ended on Saturday night with performances by Dead Strangs and Backroad Anthem.

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