The Herald Bulletin

September 22, 2013

Frankton festival a 'family thing'

Frankton Heritage Days Festival adds more events for the kids

By Dani Palmer The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — FRANKTON — Watching three of her granddaughters ride a pony together, Kristy Stansberry said the Frankton Heritage Days Festival is about spending time with family and visiting friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s about tradition.

She was there with her family on Sunday and joined about 8,000 others at the 38th annual festival over the weekend.

Pony rides and a petting zoo were among the new attractions, including more rides like the Ferris wheel, that Stansberry said just helps the festival grow larger and larger each year.

“It’s a family-oriented community here,” she said. “You’re just able to do the family thing, spend the day here with the kids.”

And it’s all at an affordable cost, she said, adding her family goes out to the festival from the “time it appears until the time it goes.”

It was her granddaughter, Keylee’s, 3, first time on a horse.

“The best part is many of the kids here have never ridden before and you get to share the experience with them,” said Donna Rowland, who ran the petting zoo and pony rides with her family. “It’s just great.”

The Westfield family typically takes its animals to birthday parties. This year’s Heritage Days was only the Rowlands’ second festival.

Donna’s son, Colton Rowland, 12, said he’d enjoyed checking out the rides and trying out the zip line on Saturday — the first year for the activity.

“You step off the platform and hope it doesn’t snap,” Colton said, adding it was still fun.

He also helped out his parents, sister and brother-in-law run their booth.

“They (the kids) just flog the place. They run over you,” Bart Rowland, Colton’s father, said. “They seem to have a good time with it.”

And that’s the whole point, he added.

Brenda Alexander, who oversaw booth rentals, said the Heritage Days Festival had many volunteers who helped make the event possible and about 20 more vendors than usual at 70. With room in the field, she said, they’re ready to add more next year.

Despite some rough weather Friday, Alexander added, events such as the tractor pulls, mud wrestling and zip line brought in large crowds.

“They lined the streets, lined the parade route. It’s been a good turnout this year,” said daughter-in-law Heather Alexander, who oversaw the parade.

She said the estimated 8,000 they’d seen over the weekend was a little lower than normal, though. People come from all over Madison County and even states like Illinois to attend the festival.

“It’s been fun, it’s been exciting,” Brenda Alexander said.

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