JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF
BERTRAM — Entering its 36th year, the Oatmeal Festival hasn’t lost the zaniness that put the town back on the map.
“People come back year after year to claim bragging rights to the cow chip kick-off, the goat pill pop, the toilet seat tortilla toss, oatmeal box stacking contest and the very serious egg toss,” said Marcie Masterson, who’s been involved with the festival for a dozen years.
From the games to the parade and the barbecue dinner, organizers are prepared for a successful festival Aug. 30-31.
“The festival is shaping up great,” Masterson said.[box]IF YOU GO
WHAT: 36th annual Oatmeal Festival
WHEN: Begins 5:03 p.m. Aug. 30 and continues Aug. 31
WHERE: Around Oatmeal and Bertram
MAIN EVENTS: Barbecue dinner, Miss Oatmeal Pageant, trail ride, 3.3-mile race, oatmeal cook-off, pet parade, grand parade
FOR SCHEDULE: Go to www.oatmealfestival.com[/box]
However, what’s new for the festival isn’t something patrons will notice as oats rain down from above.
“It’s going to look the same and feel the same as it always has,” said Evan Milliorn, the Bertram city secretary and one of the festival’s directors. “Behind the scenes, there are a lot of new, younger people involved now.”
The youth movement is similar to adding sugar to your morning oats.
“What is new this year is that the younger generation has stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and their energy is overwhelming,” Masterson said.
The festival gets under way at 5:03 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Oatmeal Community Center with a barbecue dinner, arts and crafts and children’s games. All events start at three minutes or 33 minutes after the hour as a nod to sponsor Ralston Brand 3 Minute Oats. The Miss Oatmeal Pageant and a cake auction begin at 6:33 p.m. with a dance featuring Eddie Shell and the Not Guilties following.
The next morning begins with a trail ride from Oatmeal to Bertram and the “Run for your Oats” 3.3-mile race at 8:03 a.m.
Events on Aug. 31 are at the Bertram pavilion and the youth riding arena on FM 243 East, about three-quarters of a mile east of Texas 29.
The Oatmeal Cook-off begins at 9:03 a.m. at the Lewis Building on Vaughan Street. The Pet Parade in downtown Bertram is 10:03 a.m. before the grand parade at 10:33 a.m.
“It actually rains oats,” Masterson said. “We have a new pilot this year, Jason Hinds. He will make several passes over the parade route, drizzling all of us with oats.”
The afternoon is filled with the games, music, and arts and crafts. The festival concludes with another performance by Eddie Shell and the Not Guilties at 8:03 p.m. at the pavilion.
Along with keeping Oatmeal on the map, the festival’s goal is to raise scholarship money for graduating students.
Masterson said the festival awarded more than $2,500 in scholarships last year, down from $3,000 the two previous years. This year’s goal is $4,000.
“The scholarships go to kids that have helped the festival through the years,” Masterson said. “Each year, the kids accrue points by helping, and the scholarships go to the kids that have helped the most.”
Go to www.oatmealfestival.com for a full schedule of events and more information.