A celebration of Bridgeport’s heritage next month includes its traditional activities and the integration of new ones.
For this year’s Coal Miners’ Heritage Festival – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, on Halsell Street in downtown – event organizers wanted to reach out to a broader range of participants.
“The overall goal for Coal Miners’ was to target every demographic, so it wasn’t just for the kids but the entire family,” said Tiffany Evans, executive director of the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why we added these activities. We are excited.”
CHILI COOKOFF, ENTERTAINMENT
One new competition is the “Great Bowls of Fire” chili cookoff and tasting.
“Businesses can form teams, or individuals can be on their own,” Evans said.
Participants must set up cooking stations by 9:30 a.m. prepare a minimum of 8 quarts of their chili at the festival for judging at 4 p.m.
“That way the smell can carry down the street and hopefully entice more people to come out,” Evans said.
“Generous cash prizes” will be awarded in two categories – judges’ pick and people’s choice. The judges will choose a winner based on color, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste.
People’s choice voting is $1 per vote dropped in a vote bucket at each cooking station, and all proceeds will be donated to the Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department.
To participate, register – with $50 entry fee – by Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The cookoff area will include a television broadcasting college football games throughout the day.
This year’s festival will also introduce live entertainment by Fezzent and Pat Waters from 4 to 7 p.m.
The traditional baking contest has been expanded to a Fall Favorites Cooking competition.
“Some people are great bakers; some people are great cooks,” Evans said. “This opens it up to people who like to cook versus bake, while including our bakers.”
Entries will be accepted beginning at 10 a.m. with judging at 11 a.m. at Sagebrush, 1020 Halsell St.
Categories include fall side dishes, appetizers and desserts – cakes, cookies, bread or candy. There is a category for ages 12 and under. A recipe must be submitted with the entry, and it may be reprinted.
Prizes will be awarded in each category, and a grand prize will be given for best of show. There is no entry fee.
MOTORCYCLE SHOW, POKER RUN
Members of Bridgeport Masonic Lodge No. 587 are organizing a motorcycle show and poker run in conjunction with the festival.
Show registration – $20 a bike – is 9 to 10 a.m. with judging at 3 p.m. and winners announced at 4 p.m. First and second-place trophies will be awarded in each of the following classes – American Touring, Cruiser, Sportster/Buell and Vintage (1986 or older), European, Metric Touring, Cruiser, Sport Bike and Vintage (1986 or older), Scooter (all) and custom. Best of show and best paint awards will also be given.
Registration for the poker run – $15 for the run or $10 if you have a bike in the show – begins at 9 a.m. with the last bike out by 10 a.m. High and worst hands will be paid, and additional hands are available at $10 each.
For more information, contact J.W. Irick at (940) 368-2765 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Bud Read at (940) 393-3892 or email@example.com.
The 16th annual event will also feature the following traditional elements:
- Bridgeport Rocks Miners 5K Run/Walk – Registration at 7:30 a.m. and race starts at 8 a.m. at the pavilion in Harwood Park. Pre-registration is $25 by Monday, Sept. 24, for a T-shirt. Awards will be given to top two finishers in each 14 and under; 15 to 20; 21 to 29; 30 to 40; and 40 and over.
- children’s activities – pumpkin painting, heritage dolls, coal miner hat decorating, jump houses and rock climbing wall.
- High Noon Hot Dog Eating Contest – registration at 11:45 a.m., contest at noon. Call (940) 683-3404.
- Pumpkin Patch Pageant – 1 p.m. in the Bridgeport Stage theatre. Check in is noon to 12:45 p.m. Age categories are 0 to 23 months, 2 to 3 years, 4 to 6 years and 7 to 9 years and are open to boys and girls. Theme is fall and attire is casual. Entry fee is $20, and deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5. Call Susan Miller at (940) 366-0186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- photography contest – open to non-professional contests in four categories: youth (up to age 16) color, youth black/white, adult (age 17 and up) color and adult black/white. Fee is $10 per entry, which must be matted. Drop off at Bridgeport City Hall, 900 Thompson St. Deadline is Thursday, Oct. 4. Call Jesica McEachern at (940) 683-3402.
- pet costume parade at 10:30 a.m.
- historical demonstrations and museum tours by the Bridgeport Historical Society.
- vendor booths including pet adoptions by the Bridgeport Animal Shelter.
To register for any of the events, visit www.bridgeportchamber.org or call (940) 683-2076.
Coal Miners’ Heritage Festival is hosted by the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce, Bridgeport Historical Society and Bridgeport Main Street.
Applications for any Coal Miners’ Festival events, including a vendor booth and competitions, can be found at www.bridgeportchamber.org or by calling (940) 683-2076.