Feathers will fly again this weekend in Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park as the world’s largest living bird returns to the 16th annual Ostrich Festival.
The festival, which celebrates the history of ostrich ranching in Chandler at the turn of the 20th century, was ostrichless last year when Gov. Janet Napolitano issued a ban on the transport of all poultry in and out of the state because of Exotic Newcastle Disease.
But the racing birds are back this year as the festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday at the park, 2250 S. McQueen.
Chandler mayor and grand marshal Boyd Dunn will lead more than 85 floats, bands and drill teams in the Ostrich Festival Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The parade starts at Arizona Avenue and Ray Road, heading south on Arizona Avenue to Chicago Street.
Becky Jackson, president and chief executive officer for the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, said all three days of the festival will feature continuous music, demonstrations and a carnival with more than 25 rides. There will be game booths and more than 150 food and craft vendors.
The Kids Zone will offer facepainting, water tattoos and hands-on arts and crafts. A petting zoo will feature a kangaroo, a pot-bellied pig and a baby camel.
Tickets are $3 for adults or $6 after 6 p.m. at the gate. Admission for seniors older than 62 is $2, $1 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for children younger than 4. Admission includes the main stage acts.
Family fun packs are available for $55 at all Food City stores and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce until 3 p.m. Friday.
For more information, call (480) 963-4571.
Friday: Festival 4 to 11 p.m. Ostrich and exotic animal races at 5 p.m. Carnival 4 to 11 p.m. War performs 8 p.m.
Saturday: Parade 10 a.m. Festival 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ostrich and exotic animal races at 2 and 5 p.m. Carnival 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Jim Belushi and Sacred Hearts band performs 8 p.m.
Sunday: Festival noon to 11 p.m. Ostrich and exotic animal races at 2 and 5 p.m. Carnival noon to 11 p.m. Little Joe y la Familia and Emilio perform 6:30 p.m.