Fired Up festival set for Saturday


September 25, 2019

File photo

A member of the Odd Lab performance group performs during the 2018 Fired Up festival in front of the Tucumcari railroad depot. Odd Lab will hold two performances Saturday evening during the festival's 2019 edition.

Connie Loveland has been Tucumcari MainStreet's executive director for only a few months, but that doesn't mean any hiccups should occur Saturday during the organization's ninth annual Fired Up festival in the downtown railroad depot plaza.

Loveland is an old hand with Fired Up; she was one of the first committee members for the inaugural event. Mark Lake, Tucumcari MainStreet director at the time, was impressed with how she and Christy Dominguez, now manager of the Odeon Theatre, put together a summer festival in Tucumcari for an Amarillo television station on two weeks' notice, and he wanted them on board for a new event.

"He told us about this idea he had for a fire-themed festival, and there's been no looking back since then," Loveland said.

Loveland took over the MainStreet post in June after Gail Houser was fired, but there wasn't much of a catch-up process.

"Many things were already in place when I came in," she said last week. "The committee is a well-oiled machine as this point. All of the contracts for entertainment were in place. The vendors' contracts are trickling in; we're at 24 right now. That's pretty good already, and a lot of them have come in this week. People are realizing it's right around the corner."

Also on tap for that day is the fourth annual Wheels on Fire bicycle race that begins 7:30 a.m. Saturday, which takes a 100-mile loop from the Tucumcari Convention Center on Route 66 to San Jon, up the caprock to Grady, descends down the caprock from Ragland and returns to Tucumcari via Highway 209. The cycling event also offers 50-mile and 25-mile courses.

Brandon Goldston, organizer of the Wheels on Fire 100, anticipates 120 to 130 riders for the event. He said Thursday a total of 87 had signed up, which was 30 more than the same time a year ago. A total of 107 cyclists participated in 2018.

The Wheels on Fire 100 isn't officially part of Fired Up, but both events promote each other.

Boosted by ideal weather conditions, last year's Fired Up drew a record 4,024 people, despite a volunteer losing one clicker counter during the weekend.

"The festival has grown nearly every year," Loveland said. "I'm hoping we have at least 4,000 people come in throughout the day."

The downtown festival begins with sidewalk sales by merchants at 10 a.m. Here is the rest of the schedule:

• 10 a.m .: Acrylic paint-pour for children at The Gallery Etc.

• Noon: Car-show registration.

• 1 p.m .: Car show begins.

• 2 p.m .: Fired Up opens.

• 2 p.m .: "Frozen" matinee at Odeon Theatre.

• 3 p.m .: Kids Corner opens.

• 4 p.m .: Opening ceremonies.

• 4:15 p.m .: Prince Tocom and Princess Kari kids contest.

• 6:30 p.m .: Odd Lab performance.

• 8:30 p.m .: Odd Lab performance.

• 9 p.m .: Fireworks show.

You can bet Loveland will be one of those watching the pyrotechnics to end the festival.

"That's my favorite part of the festival because everyone is happy and cheering and people are visiting each other," she said.

The festival area will include a show by regionally popular country band Bakersfield Twang, regular and walking performances by the Clan Tynker Circus Group of Santa Fe, a local-celebrity dunk tank, a New Mexico State Police semi-truck simulator and bomb-squad robot, an iron pour by Mesalands Community College and a burning-car demonstration by the Tucumcari Fire Department,

Loveland said she's already looking ahead to 2020.

"Next year, I've got some new ideas for the 10th-anniversary festival," she said.


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