TOWN OF TURTLE - Despite the looming threat of rain this weekend, the Shopiere Days event attracted a big crowd and was pulled off without a hitch.
"Mother Nature was very good to us. They were talking about three days of rain and we didn't get any at all," Shopiere Days Co-Chairman Paul Leuty said.
Leuty said overall numbers were about the same as last year, although some people may have avoided events because of the chance of rain. He said Friday night attendance was above expected, Saturday was average attendance and Sunday was a little light.
"As a whole, we were pretty close to normal numbers," Leuty said. "We were so happy to have it happen. I want to thank the community and all the people who attended."
On Saturday, lots of families were heading out to Sweet Allyn Park for vendors and carnival rides before heading over to the truck and tractor pulls followed by live music in the park. On Sunday, visitors enjoyed annual 2019 Shopiere Days parade, derby course race, tug-o-war pulls, music in the park and fireworks. The weekend also included softball games and a 5K race.
Dad Phil Pope brought his son Lukas Pope, 2. Lukas had so much fun at the tractor pull, Phil Pope said, he cried when he tried to take him to the carnival. Phil Pope said he was excited to take his son to his first tractor pull. At the event the kids ran into little pals Luke Beran and Collin Zink along with Phil Pope's cousin Christine Beran. The boys were carrying each other piggyback style as they watched the billowing smoke coming out of the tractors and listened to the engines roar.
"The boys get so excited at the tractor pulls. It's so fun to see them watch it. Their faces light up, I love it," said mom Christine Beran.
The tractor pull was also a big hit for Emily Smith, 24. Smith, who was munching on a funnel cake, said she's had many happy memories at Shopiere Days, including collecting buckets of candy at the parade when she was little. However, when she got older she and her father started attending the tractor pull together. While her dad attends other tractor pulls in the area, the one in Turtle is their special day.
"I love spending time with my dad. It's something we bond over," Emily Smith said.
Smith said she's a graduate of Turner High School and lives in the Turtle area. She hopes to stay in the community and be a teacher at Turner High School one day. She said she loves the small community where she knows everyone.
Mom Katy Robles was taking her sons, Ezra Robles, 5, and Emilio Robles, 2, to the slide on the carnival grounds on Saturday. She said her husband is a cook at the Shopiere Tap and coming to the event is a big family tradition. She was also planning to attend the parade and derby race.
Teresa and Kevin Sawyer and their kids Ava Sawyer, 2, and Analeigh Sawyer, 4, drove in from Roscoe. They said they discovered the event by accident last year and loved it so much they were returning. They said the rides were affordable and just right for their young children.