The Spinach Capital of the World hosted its signature event, the annual Alma Spinach Festival, on Saturday (April 20). In its 27th year, the festival drew hundreds to the city’s downtown for a fun day of crafts, food, rides and of course, spinach-themed activities.
Festivities got underway early Saturday morning with a 5K Dog run. Organized by the Alma High School Partners Club, the event included both a 5K race, as well as a one-mile fun run for individuals of all ages. Awards were presented to the top three overall male female in each of their respective age divisions.
Admission to the festival was free. The event is sponsored each year by the Alma Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Alma A&P Commission.
Vendors featuring everything from homemade jewelry to handcrafted wooden toys were stationed along Main Street. The annual “Friends of the Library” Book Sale was also open in front of the downtown branch. Proceeds from the sale benefitted the “Friends of the Alma Public Library,” a non-profit organization “established to help the library grow and meet the needs of its patrons.”
Many festival-goers enjoyed fair food classics including funnel cakes, corndogs and snow cones. Plates of spud ribbons and nachos could also be found along with delicious cupcakes, popsicles and ice cream treats.
A children’s carnival was set-up in the Alma High School parking lot. Kids played on slides and inflatable bounce-arounds and took a spin on the pony ride. Members of the Crawford County 4-H Club treated children to a petting zoo complete with chickens, ponies and other barnyard critters.
Visitors of all ages took their turn on the mechanical bull set up in Popeye Park. Many kids also hopped on the Spinach Festival train as it made its way up and down the street.
Four Play Offroaders, A group of “rock crawlin’ and trail-riding” enthusiasts, volunteered their time at the festival working to raise funds for the organization Autism Speaks. Members parked their off-road vehicles along the street for visitors to see and enjoy while collecting donations for their cause.
Throughout the day, a number of local and regional acts were featured on the Popeye Entertainment Stage. Ranging from classic country to gospel groups, the musicians entertained visitors late into the afternoon.
At noon, competitors made their way to the staging area to begin the traditional spinach-eating contest. The contest was divided into a youth and adult division, with each group having 15 minutes to eat as many cans of spinach as possible.
Later in the day, a crowd gathered to watch the Spinach Drop on Main Street. Spinach was tossed from the top of a ladder truck on loan from the Alma Fire Department. Sponsored by the Alma Rotary Club and the Boys and Girls Club of the Alma Area, the event offered participants the chance to win up to $500.
The third annual Popeye Classic Golf Tournament, originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed due to the weather. Organizers rescheduled the event for May 20 at Eagle Crest in Alma. Teams interested in participating can contact the Alma Chamber of Commerce.