Funfastic Fourth is back

Funtastic Fourth, Big Spring's downtown festival celebrating God and the nation's independence, is back, albeit with some “new” twists.“We have a new, energized board, new excitement and a new format this year,” said Allan Johnson, president of the Downtown Revitalization Association, which puts on the daylong celebration. There's another new aspect to Funtastic Fourth. This year, the date will change.“July 4 is on a Monday and we thought we would get better participation if we moved it to Saturday, July 2, instead,” Johnson explained. “This year, we will be setting up Pops in the Park as opposed to following them,” he added, speaking of Big Spring's other Independence Day celebration, which will be held at the Comanche Trail Park Amphitheater on Sunday, July 3.Funtastic Fourth wasn't held last year, primarily, Johnson said, because it would have fallen on a Sunday. But the event is returning with more vigor, more music and more vendors, according to the board.“We want to create a stir downtown. We already have more than 30 vendors lined up but we want to have more than a hundred,” said Johnson. “That's why this year all non-food vendors will be allowed to set up for free. We encourage artists and crafters and others to set up booths with their own tables and chairs or whatever they want to use.”The only catch is that organizers want to know in advance what is going to to be sold, in part, to better publicize the event and also to know how much room to allot to vendors. Those interested in setting up non-food booths can contact Johnson at 432-267-6278.Food vendors will be charged $150 and are asked to call Johnson or Linda Burchett at 432-816-9381.“We'd like to have more local restaurants participate as food vendors,” said Johnson.Another new twist is that Funtastic Fourth will welcome all types of music again. The event had “gone gospel” in recent years, and while gospel groups will still be included, there will also be tejano, rock and roll and country — including headliner Mark McKinney.The format calls for gospel music to be performed when the festival opens at 10 a.m. Rock and roll groups will perform from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by an hour of intermission to allow the evening bands to set up. Tejano groups will take the stage from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by Ike Jackson — who performs Mowtown from the 1960s and 70s — an area group, Lenorah from Lenorah, and McKinney, a Big Spring native.“We still have some openings for gospel groups, tejano groups and a few in our rock and roll session as well,” said Johnson. Anyone wishing to perform can contact him at the above number.Other information about the Funtastic Fourth will be released in coming weeks, said Johnson, but event-goers can plan on children's games and rides and an adult washer contest.The DRA is also looking for sponsors to help fund the Funtastic Fourth. Depending on the level of support, sponsors will be able to identify a particular event with a company name, be mentioned in all advertising and have a banner with their name on it. Again, for information, contact Johnson.