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Ox Cart plans major changes this summer

Ox Cart Days in Star Prairie are in for big changes in 2008.

According to Tom Gibson, Ox Cart Committee member, local organizers hope the changes breathe new life into the local celebration. This year's version of Ox Cart Days is planned for Aug. 15-17.

The biggest change is that the community celebration's grand parade, which has typically been held on Saturday afternoon, will now be held on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The second big change will be shifting the Miss Star Prairie coronation ceremony from Friday night to Sunday at 4 p.m.

Gibson said the Star Prairie Lion's Club, which sponsors the annual gathering, hopes the changes will help boost attendance for all the weekend's festivities.

"Sunday was always kind of a slow day," he explained. "This will hopefully entice attendance for the whole weekend."

By changing the coronation, Gibson said Friday night's calendar of events will be filled with two bands and assorted other activities.

"Family Day," which was usually designated on Sunday, will no longer be held. Gibson said events for families and kids will be spread throughout Ox Cart Days instead of concentrating it on one day.

"We want to make the whole weekend more family oriented," he said.

The annual kids' bicycle race, petting zoo, canoe races and Augie the Clown's annual performance will take place on Saturday. The kiddie tractor pull and pony rides will be available on Sunday. Carnival rides will be set up for the entire run of the festival.

The annual kiddie parade will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, prior to the grand parade. Line-up for the main parade will begin at 1 p.m.

With the queen's coronation slated as the last event of Ox Cart Days, Gibson said the reigning royal court will play a bigger role in the 2008 event.

In previous years, when the coronation was on Friday night, the reigning court was officially done with its duties. Now they will ride in the Sunday parade as the reigning court, and provide help at various Ox Cart events throughout the weekend.

"It will kind of be their last hurrah," he said.

The candidates for the new royal court will also be involved through the weekend's festivities. But Gibson said the later coronation will allow the candidates to be "judged" more as they interact as part of Ox Cart Days.

Another change in the event will be a new sponsorship program. Ox Cart Days will offer several different sponsorship levels, offering opportunities to large and small businesses alike. The larger sponsors will be provided with greater advertising exposure as the festival approaches. Sponsorship will be limited, so businesses are encouraged to contact organizers as soon as possible.

For more information about Ox Cart Days, visit www.oxcartdays.com or www.starprairielions.com.

Lions want members

Gibson said the Star Prairie Lion's Club is seeking new members over the next few months.

A special new member meeting is already planned for the first Monday in April. Anyone interesting in joining the Star Prairie Lion's Club can call membership chairperson Chris Boardman at 248-3290 or visit www.starprairielions.com.

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