Kids and adults came from miles around to see attractions such as the Memorial Day Parade, midway carnival, fireworks and Lions Club Ox Roast.
The six-day event typically draws between 125,000 and 150,000 people, but the Lions Club was anticipating larger crowds this year. Festival Chairman Mike Johnson said the new carnival rides, an extended firework show on Sunday and a performance by musical group Yard Sale Underwear succeeded in bringing in more people than ever.
“Carnival-wise, we were up, so the numbers were up," Johnson said. "There were so many free events, it was hard to keep track of all the numbers, but I don’t think we could’ve gotten any more people in town Sunday than we did."
Lions Club Secretary Jim Kauppila said the two fireworks displays and the music performance were both huge hits, increasing attendance by at least 10-15 percent over previous years.
“Whatever they were playing, everyone was dancing to," he said of Yard Sale Underwear. "They have quite a strong following, and it showed in the amount of people that showed up to the event."
A new theater attraction called “My Adventure Theater” was also very popular, Johnson said. He said it will be back at next year's festival.
The Lions Club generated $60,000 from the event last year. Kauppila said this year's festival raised "significantly more money" that will go back into the community in ways such as student scholarships and food drives.
— By Ben Perfect, Tribune intern