Stirring up fun in Bertram

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

BERTRAM — If the need to hear some live music, play some wacky games, and soak in all the fun and excitement of the small-town festival life boils over, the Oatmeal Festival in Bertram is the place to be.

The Oatmeal Festival stirs the imagination for children of all ages with the centerpiece of the Aug. 31 event being a wide variety of street games to play or just watch.

“We like to advertise our wacky and zany games going on on Main Street,” said April Baladez, treasurer for the festival Bowl of Directors. “We have the oatmeal eating contest, then there’s an egg toss, a cow chip kick and an oat box stack, so there are several games that are going on all day.”

Visitors to the festival, which dates back to 1978, can enjoy the games or let their children loose in the kids area that offers bounce houses, and inflatable water games and slides, all free of charge.

An Oatmeal Festival isn’t complete without some oats mixed in, and visitors can get in on the action and take their lumps – literally – by entering the oatmeal eating contest or the bake off.

“We’ve had 10 to 15 people in the contest each year and we basically just scoop out oatmeal proportionally into bowls and we set a few in front of each participant and they get three minutes to eat as much as they can,” Baladez said. “I think last year the winner ate five bowls of oatmeal.”

Baking contest entries must be turned in between 9:33 and 11:33 a.m. and cover a variety of age groups and types of recipes.

The grand parade is at 10:33 a.m. through town, and the street dance, featuring the music of Jarrod Birmingham and Dale Watson, begins at 9:03 p.m.

Regardless of when visitors show up, there is always something to do and see, from a silent auction to food and shopping.

“There is live music going on in the park with vendors and food where we will be serving a barbecue lunch,” Baladez said. “But there is also the Globe Theater that will have music all day as well, which is great because it is air conditioned as well.”

A wrist band that allows attendees to come and go for the music in the theater throughout the day is only $5, and music runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the venue.

“This is really our main event for the year and we’re really excited about it,” Baladez said. “There are a lot of volunteers, a lot of student volunteers, that put their time and energy into it so we can raise money for scholarships, which is our whole goal. The whole purpose of the Oatmeal Festival is to raise money to give back to the youth of the Bertram area.”

For more information on the Oatmeal Festival, go online to www.oatmealfestival.org.

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