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New events set for Chingawassa

Staff writer

Clayton Garnica loves Marion so much that he works the equivalent of a part-time job as chairman of Chingawassa Days.

He’s served on the committee for 12 years and has been at the helm for nine.

What keeps him going is simple: his affection for Marion and his affection for residents’ support of their town.

“I love Marion as a community itself,” he said. “The town of Marion supports everything, and that touches my heart.”

This year’s annual event, June 2 through June 4, will mark Chingawassa’s 25th year.

Garnica, who grew up in Tampa but has lived in Marion since high school, and members of the event’s committee have worked for 20 months to make this year’s event next-level, he said.

Nate Smith will perform at 9 p.m. June 3.

“He is gaining a lot of traction in the country music world,” Garnica said.

New this year are two sanctioned events: a Kansas City Barbecue Society competition and a cornhole tournament.

“It took us a couple years and lots of hard work” to get the society to agree to sanction a competition in Marion,” Garnica said. “I always wanted some kind of sanctioned cooking tournament. Our initial talks went well.”

Rhino’s Den, the main beer garden, will be open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. June 2, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 3. Cornhole Beer Garden — a new feature — will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 3.

Beer garden rules are lengthy but ultimately boil down to this: be 21 or older, remember that the festival is family-friendly, and don’t get drunk or be a jerk.

Other committee members are Lindsey Buckbee, Brent Cleeton, Steven Hart, Adam Heerey, Misty Hett, Clinton Jeffrey, Maranda McMichael, Brandon Meierhoff, Landon Pedersen, Amber Powers, Remington Putter, Jeff Richmond, Todd Winter, and Margo Yates.

From the end of Chingawassa through December, the committee typically meets once a month, Garnica said. It meets about two to three weeks from January through June, but “in May, it’s weekly,” Garnica said.

“We do it to give back to the community.”

Last modified May 3, 2023

 

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