MANSON - Old favorites and new attractions will entertain the crowds at Manson's annual Greater Crater Days celebration, which begins Friday and runs through June 24.
As usual, the weekend kicks off with Friday night's Truck Pull sanctioned by the Midwest Pullers Association. The gates open at 6 p.m., with the pull running from 7 p.m. to midnight.
"It gets bigger each year," said organizer Todd Partlow. "It's one of the best tracks I'd say in the Midwest."
-Messenger file photo
Team Lil’ Rack, composed of (left to right) Leslie Collins, Anne Condon, and Jody Walsh, all of Barnum, competes in the annual Rib Fest at the 2011 Greater Crater Days. The trio won the competition in 2010.
Partlow said many classes of trucks will compete, including alcohol-burners with more than 750 horsepower.
New to Crater Days this year is the 5K Crater Dash walk/run. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, with the race beginning at 9 a.m. A 1K kids fun run will begin at 9:15 a.m., for ages 12 and under.
The run is sponsored by the Good Samaritan Society, and organized by Ashley Quade, said Economic Development Coordinator Thelma McGough.
The race route will begin and end at the Good Samaritan Society.
"We will give out prizes for that - Chamber Bucks," said McGough. "They're gift certificates that can be used at any Chamber member business."
Proceeds from the run will go toward creating a scholarship for any Manson Northwest Webster High School senior for the 2012-2013 year attending a college for a health- or fitness-related field.
The parade will be at 11 a.m., followed by Main Street activities and games from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The water fights will begin in front of the fire station at 2 p.m.
"For kids on Main Street, of course we will have the Bouncy Thing and carnival games with prizes. Those tickets will be 50 cents," said McGough. "We'll have face painting and glitter tattoos also, and there will be a dunk tank."
Other activities include a Mom Calling contest, a Men's Hairiest Leg contest, a Frozen T-shirt contest, and a Pie Eating contest.
In what is becoming a tradition, the fourth annual Rib Fest competition will begin serving at 5 p.m.
Set up for Rib Fest vendors will be from 9 to 11 a.m., with electricity available on a first-come, first-served basis. Judging will be at 4:30 p.m.
This year, the winner will be decided by a panel of five judges. Before, it was a people's choice vote.
"It's a little better, I think, to have judges. We'll see how that works out. It's too hard when you have that many contestants. People can't get to everybody," said Josh Sturgis, Chamber chairman and an avid meat smoker.
He said last year there were 15 contestants. About 175 people were able to eat, but the crowd was so large people were turned away with no food.
This year, he said, the contestants will cook more.
Sturgis is also planning on competing himself.
"I've been smoking ribs for the last six or seven years," he said. "I wanted to have a competition in Manson, that's what started it. I think the first time, seven people entered, and 60 people ate. Since then it's just grown a little more this year."
Ribs will be judged on taste, tenderness, texture, appearance and sauce or rub.
"I like them to be able to fall off the bone," McGough said.
Bands will perform on the Main Street stage Saturday night. The gates open at 6 p.m., with a $5 admission charge. Local Manson band Jay Clyde will perform at 7 p.m., followed by the 2002 Grammy-nominated Randy McAllister, of Texas.
"He plays washboard, harmonica, and he's got one of the best voices I've ever heard. I'd say country is his mainstay," Partlow said.
Festivities will conclude Sunday with a breakfast at 10 a.m. at the Manson Golf and Country Club, followed by the Middleton Classic golf tournament.