Elgin community celebrates summer
ELGIN - The Elgin community came together to celebrate summer Friday at the fairgrounds.
The inaugural Summer Fun Fest kicked off in the late morning and continued into the late evening as hundreds poured in to visit local and area vendors, play games and help local charitable organizations. Amanda Hulen, organizer, said she and a friend conceived of the idea of a summer festival about three months ago as a way for the community to do something fun during the dog days of summer.
"It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision about three months ago that we've been working on ever since," she said. "Elgin doesn't have anything to do over the summer, except Crawds 'n' Rods. Each of the small towns, like Fletcher, always do something like a Fourth of July or summer event. So we wanted to do the same."
The fairgrounds field south of U.S. 277 played host to a group of vendors offering food, wares and experiences for visitors. Circle of Dreams Alpaca Farms brought a pair of its furry animals for children to pet and others to learn more about, including the products that are created from their wool. Chloe Barnes, 5, wasn't content with just petting the alpacas or taking home some of their wares.
"I want to take one of them home with me," Barnes said.
She did not leave Summer Fun Fest with an alpaca, but instead with an invitation to come to the ranch anytime she would like.
Several local food trucks set up shop and battled to quench the thirst and hunger of those in attendance. Multiple charity groups, including Elgin Middle School's Winter Wishes program, also set up booths to accept donations. Hulen said she was focused on offering a variety of vendors and charities to help serve the community.
"We gave many of these a booth so they could come out and try to fundraise," Hulen said. "We set up a dunk tank where they could also get some funds. If you get in the dunk tank, you get to keep the money to use for your organizations."
With temperatures climbing into the high 90s and a heat index of well over 100 by noon, the dunk tank was possibly the best place to be as the day went on. Thankfully, assistance was close by if anyone needed aid.
"We were worried about the heat, but we were lucky enough to have Comanche County (Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service) send out a team that would help with anyone with dehydration," Hulen said. "A lot of our booths are also handing out free water to people who need it."