StarDaze draws big crowd to Star City

With a population just under 3,000, Star City grew almost 10 times its size with an estimated 20,000 visitors participating in this year’s StarDaze Festival.

The annual event, which kicked off Friday and ended Saturday, hosted more than 80 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and carnival rides from across Arkansas and states as far as Wisconsin.

The second-day festivities began at 8 a.m. Saturday with a car show and motorcycle point run, with a 5K run at 9 a.m.

Ross Bolding, 67, of Monticello was the winner of the 5K run with a time of 24 minutes and 40 seconds. Bolding, the Road Runners Club of America’s Male Master Road Runner of the Year, will be recognized at the 55th annual RRCA Convention May 2-5 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The fun-packed festival, which began 10 years ago on a flatbed truck, has become a major attraction.

Amy Allen, this year’s event chair, said the festival’s success is because of its sponsors and community support.

“The festival is solely supported by our sponsors who make it possible,” Allen said. “We appreciate them and the people coming out and supporting it.”

Allen said that 10 percent of the proceeds from the festival is provided to the city’s community chamber of commerce.

Festival participants like Amanda’s Gym Class, owned by Amanda Terry and her mother, Karen Moore, have been a mainstay since StarDaze first launched. Students performed a gym kids’ exhibition at Saturday’s festival.

Moore said students’ participation in the festival is one way for them to exhibit their talents.

“It’s a good way for them to show off in their community because they don’t compete,” she said. “It’s a good way for them to find out if they want to go further.”

One major highlight of the festival is its free musical performances. Friday’s musical artists included Steel Magnolia while Saturday’s headliner was Kix Brooks, a country music favorite best known for being one half of the duo Brooks and Dunn with hit singles including Rock My World (Little Country Girl).