Relishing in festive summer

Shelby County towns and organizations are working to pack residents’ calendars with family-friendly events this summer.

In fact, not a single weekend on the calendar, from now through the beginning of June, remains unbooked by some festival or another.

WADING THE CREEK

Helena residents hope to take advantage of the summertime feel with the Buck Creek Festival May 8-9.

The annual event will feature a rubber duck race, musical acts, vendors and a children’s fun zone. The festival goes from 6-11 p.m. May 8 and from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. May 9.

Councilmember Cris Nelson said the festival is an anticipated event on the Helena calendar.

“It’s the annual event for the city of Helena. People just come down and enjoy themselves,” Nelson said. “A lot of families just spend the whole day there.”

Admission is free, although for a small fee individuals may sponsor one of the 2,000 ducks in the duck race down Buck Creek. The cost is $5 per duck.

There will also be a $5 breakfast Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and a children’s fun zone, which will also cost $5.

During the two days, the festival will feature 10 bands — two Friday night and eight Saturday. For more information on the festival, visit Buckcreekfestival.com.

IRONED IN HISTORY

The Historical Shelby Association hopes to transport festival-goers May 16 to days of old during the History & Homestead Day at the Shelby Iron Works Park.

“We plan to focus on the history of the iron works and the lives of people when it was thriving,” said volunteer John Brasher. “We’re trying to display what people had to do to make their own food, build their own homes, etc.”

As the park fills with the sounds of dulcimers and harmonicas, families can watch a working blacksmith fashioning metal or snack on hickory smoked barbecue and boiled peanuts. The event will also include antique tractors and fire trucks, hay and train rides, engines and machines from yesteryear.

Historical society members are also excited to unveil the new education workshop. This area now allows the Historic Shelby Association to host school, civic and private groups for educational presentations, tours or private functions.

Admission to this event is free. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

SALUTING HEROES

The American Village plays host to the fifth-annual Blue Star Salute May 25. The Memorial Day event honors the patriotic sacrifice of men and women in the military. The event honors soldiers through historical interpreters, live music from the 151st Army band, military equipment displays and of course, the Gold Star Salute to fallen heroes. There will also be a portrayal of portions of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country” speech. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. and runs through 4 p.m. General admission is $5, active military and veterans get in free.

FESTIVELY OUTDOORS

CityFest, the county’s largest outdoor festival, drew an estimated 36,000 people to last year’s event.

Councilperson Sophie Martin expects the June 6 event to be the best yet.

“With CityFest, it’s an event where we want to reach all different varieties of people, age groups and demographics,” Martin said.

This year’s festivities will be headlined by alternative rock group Tonic and country artist Terri Clark. Other local acts such as Act of Congress and Kevin Derryberry will perform. Families can also enjoy inflatables for the kids, arts, crafts and vendors during the all-day event. Martin also said having a free event like CityFest is especially important during these tough economic times.

“We want to continue to give back to the community. With the economy the way it is, you’re going to have a lot of people looking for free events,” Martin said. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to offer free events, especially family events.”

Gates open at 9 a.m.

Austin Phillips and Amy Jones contributed this story.