Editor’s note: Gimme 5 is a five-question interview about a topic of local interest.
Who: Carol Peuse, Bean and Bacon Days festival director.
Talks about: This year’s Bean and Bacon Days festival in Augusta.
When: Thursday through Sunday and July 4.
Where: The Lions Club Field and other sites throughout Augusta.
Information: beanandbacondays.info; 715-286-5013.
How and when did this festival begin?
Back in 1976 some of us in Augusta organized a celebration in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration happening in this country. We worked hard, put on that event and were happy with it. Then we decided we wanted to keep it going, so the next year we did it again, and that was really the first year of this event.
This festival has a distinctive name. Where did that name come from?
When we came up with the festival in 1977, we were searching for a name and decided it should reflect Bush Brothers & Co. since that is a major business here in Augusta.
What are some of the longtime staples of this event?
We have some things that have been a constant since the beginning of the festival.
Just like in the beginning, the Lion’s field serves as the main gathering place, although we have some events at other locations too. Just like in the beginning, we still have the Miss Augusta pageant, and we still have the softball tournament. The dance is a mainstay as well as the parade. And our charcoal grilled chicken has always been a big thing.
How has the event changed since Bean and Bacon Daysbegan?
We have added many events through the years as the crowds have grown. Nowadays we have a demo derby, a car show, an ATV mud bog and our parade has gotten bigger. We are always looking to add new things to keep this festival new and fresh. That is part of why it is still going.
Why did you get involved with this event initially, and why do you stay involved?
Back when it started it was me and a bunch of other people who wanted to do something to celebrate Augusta. Now I’m the only one of those original people left, but there are so many people who help put this on. I want this to be special for Augusta, to celebrate this place.
— Julian Emerson, reporter