Chandler's ostrich festival earns national attention - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Chandler's ostrich festival earns national attention

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 8:22 pm | Updated: 7:17 am, Mon Aug 12, 2013.

The City of Chandler may soon need its own full-time make up crew — at least, perhaps, for one of the stars of its annual ostrich festival.

“The film crew was so funny and so creative. They spent hours upon hours filming because they had never seen anything like it before. They thought it was so funny,” explained Terri Kimble, President and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

The 25th Annual Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival this past March and its renowned ostrich recently got the star treatment: ostrich races from the event became the setting of Snapple’s 6 minute, documentary-style project called “365: Neck and Neck.”

Made in the vein of an “HBO-24/7-style sports documentary”, the video made its debut July 10 and is part of the “Snapple Re-enFACTments” digital campaign, a series of videos based off Snapple’s Real Facts printed on the inside of each beverage bottle cap.

“A quick Google search led us straight to the Ostrich Festival,” said Brian Bell, Brand PR Specialist for Snapple. “We knew right then and there that this race was just too good a Re-enFACTment opportunity to pass up.”

Click here to view the Re-enFACTment video

The fact behind this video was Snapple Real Fact No. 238: an ostrich’s brain is smaller than its eye. So far there are 928 “Real Facts” listed on Snapple’s website, something the company started over 10 years ago.

Even though an ostrich’s brain is tiny, the film crew found out that that doesn’t necessarily mean the flightless bird draws an equally proportionate amount of interest.

“Whenever the people come here, there’s a lot of them that come here and never never seen it before and they think it’s completely crazy and I guess it is a little bit nuts but we have people come back year after year after year,” said ostrich farmer and racer Steve Boger in the video.

Kimble shared with the crew the City of Chandler’s heritage involving ostrich ranching and Dr. Alexander J. Chandler.

And the small-brained birds won over the crew with their big hearts as they showed what Boger calls, “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”

Bell said the film crew shot more than 15 hours of footage, and was difficult to cut down to the six minutes they needed as a documentary.

The video briefly tells the story of Boger and his prized ostrich, Julio.

“Julio is the greatest ostrich I’ve ever seen. There’s not enough money to buy Julio,” says Boger in the video, while also describing himself as the champ at the ostrich festival because he’s only been beaten twice racing in the last 5 years.

“He’s just going so fast sometimes I think he’s going to take off and fly.”

The video humorously describes Julio as a bird who emerged from a troubled and bullied youth, almost having to take up residence at a local petting zoo.

“The crew had no expectations going in. But as soon as we met Steve Boger and his prized ostrich, Julio, we knew we had an amazing story. Here’s an ostrich that was almost cast off as a runt, and Boger was able to train him into a 5-time champion,” said Bell. “Going into the shoot, we had hoped to get the kind of material worthy of an HBO 24/7-style documentary. The first day we stepped into the racetrack, we knew immediately it was perfect. The energy of the crowd, the thrill of the races, Julio’s dramatic journey to glory -- it was a story we knew had to be told. And Snapple was the one to do it.”

Kimble is hoping the video will help draw even more people to the 26th Annual Ostrich Festival, slated for March 1, 2014, and believes the video showcases Chandler as a great tourist destination. The event regularly draws between 250,000 and 350,000 guests.

The Ostrich Festival was previously featured May 26 this year on the Travel Channel’s “Trip Flip” show, and it made an appearance on Animal Planet back in 2009.

The 26th Annual Ostrich Festival will take place at Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park at the corner of McQueen and Germann (2250 S. McQueen Rd. — just south of the Loop 202 San Tan freeway at McQueen).

Snapple’s Re-enFACTment digital campaign started May 1, 2013 and Snapple has released seven videos and six “other” pieces of content.

The video can be viewed on chandlerchamber.com or the Chandler Chamber of Commerce Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as Snapple’s website.

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