Mulberry’s 2018 Edamame Festival set for April 6-7 will bring back the barbecue contest and include a new fitness obstacle competition.
This year the fifth annual festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Kirksey Park fairgrounds rather than at the city park, as in previous years.
As the event has continued to grow so has the need for more space, said Monica Freeland, event organizer and executive assistant to Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter.
“We moved it this year to provide more adequate parking and to offer the vendors an indoor facility,” Freeland said.
Vendors will be set up inside the horticulture and commercial buildings on the fairgrounds, and a new event, the Rugged Race, will take place in the rodeo arena.
Set to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, the Rugged Race is a fitness timed obstacle course sponsored by Hudson’s Gym, 1230 Crossfit, Simon Dentistry, State Farm of Alma and D’s Restaurant of Alma.
Ron Hudson, owner of Hudson’s Gym in Dyer, often holds similar competitions at his gym, he said. He wants the competition to be a fun, healthy event for the community, he said.
“We’re kind of testing the waters,” Hudson said. “We wanted to have an event out in public that people can start competing in and hopefully it will lead to bigger competitions in the future.”
There will be at least nine obstacles in the competition, including a foot race, tire obstacles, cargo net crawl, hay bale climbing wall, tire drag, farmer’s carry, balance beams, tire flip and 15-feet rope climb, Hudson said.
Competitors will be classed by gender and age, with male and females grouped by ages 18 to 35, and 35 and older. Tires and items in the farmer’s carry will be weighted for each gender, Hudson said.
Those wishing to compete can sign up the day of the event at 10 a.m.-10:20 a.m., or pre-register at Hudson’s Gym or Mulberry City Hall.
Edamame Joe’s barbecue cookoff is back this year, with six teams already signed up to compete, Freeland said.
Barbecue teams will check in Friday, April 6, and cook the meats provided on site. They are vying to be named as the winners of the best barbecue and people’s choice awards after being judged on April 7.
Taster plates will go on sale at noon for $6, and the winners will be announced at 2 p.m. The cookoff is sponsored by Today’s Bank.
Music in the park, sponsored by MIPC Powder Coatings, Mulberry Gate Company and Brent Higgins Trucking will be Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m.
Local singer Rylee Renee will perform live and food trucks will be available for families to eat while they listen to the music, Freeland said.
On Saturday, April 7, Mulberry Fire Department will hold a pancake breakfast 8 to 10 a.m. at the Mulberry Community Center.
The Miss Edamame Pageant will be 10 a.m. to noon, will live music by White River Junction at 12:30 p.m. and Judge Parker Band at 2:30 p.m. The musical events are sponsored by Westark Plumbing and Workman’s Travel Centers.
There also will be numerous art and craft vendors, food trucks, helicopter rides, laser tag and the “bigger than ever” antique car show, Freeland said.
Mayor Baxter named the city the “edamame capital of the world” after the first and only plant in the United States to process only edamame was built in the city in 2012. The first Edamame Festival was in 2015.