Marion Popcorn Festival

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The Marion Popcorn Festival is held every year in downtown Marion, Ohio, United States. The festival was established in 1981 and is held annually during the first weekend after Labor Day in September. Marion was once an epicenter of popcorn manufacturing, made by such companies as Wyandot Snacks and Orville Redenbacher's (currently made by ConAgra). Wyandot Snacks was once the largest exporter of popcorn in the United States.[1] In 1982, the second year of the festival, Wyandot Snacks presented a 40 foot long bag of popcorn, which they submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for consideration as the largest bag of popcorn in the world.[2]

Festival organizers schedule nationally known acts like Ernest Borgnine, Gloria Estefan, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Lorrie Morgan, The Neville Brothers, and Huey Lewis and the News to perform at the festival. It is said to be the biggest popcorn festival in the world, attracting crowds of over 250,000.[3]

Several hundred thousand people come annually for food, rides, activities and fun for the whole family. Events include the Popcorn 100 bike tour, Popcorn 5000 (5 km run), Fine Arts, Craft Sales, Kiddie Korner, 50+ Softball Tournament, among others. A girls pageant is held to commemorate the festival with the winner crowned Miss Marion Popcorn Festival. Other pageants include Lil Wee Pop for both girls and boys for 0–23 months, Wee Pop for girls and boys ages 24 months-6, Miss Teeny Pop ages 7–12, Miss Teen Popcorn ages 13–18 and Ms. Marion Popcorn Festival 25-up.

Rides are located within the Festival area, and a parade kicks off the event Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Several beer gardens, featuring food and entertainment, are conveniently located adjacent to the midway.

In 2004, the Travel Channel came to the festival and recorded parts of the festival as part of Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo.[4]

In 2016 Kelli Pickler and Skid Row are scheduled to perform.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Narciso, Dean. Can Marion remain world’s ‘popcorn capital’ once jobs are all gone? The Columbus Dispatch, September 16, 2014. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/09/15/0915-marion-popcorn.html Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  2. ^ Chipper Snacker, Volume 39, page 44 Potato Chip/Snack Food Association 1992
  3. ^ About: Columbus, Ohio: Marion Popcorn Festival
  4. ^ Episode Detail: Fried Ravioli, Bratwurst and Popcorn Festival

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