Deer Festival to take place this weekend!

Staff Writer

After the cancellation of the Deer Festival & Outdoor Show last year due to COVID-19 many residents can’t wait to see what this year’s festival will hold.
Many of the crowd favorites will be returning this year, a few will slightly transform, some will be gone and many new events and attractions will be present. It really might be one of those “you have to see it” years. The hours of the festival is something that has changed this year. The show will be open on Friday and Saturday, October 15th and 16th, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on both days.
The show will open on Friday morning, October 15th, at 9:00 a.m. with the Pride of Antlers Marching band performing the National Anthem, followed by their 2021 halftime show and popular stand tunes.
Up next is something that may people have been excited about, the dedication of the NEW carved Bear at the fairgrounds. After tons of wear and tear, the beloved symbol came down years ago, after being carved at the first ever Deer Festival in 2002. Thanks to Scott Winford, the bear is back and ready to make his festival debut!
Down at the Wildlife Heritage Center Museum, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both days, you and your kids can stop in and enjoy Movies at the Museum. This is a free event and is open to everyone. The movies playing will be Bambi and Open Season.
A few of the new events for this year’s festival include an after hours Steak Cookoff, sponsored by the City of Antlers and the Steak Cookoff Association. This event will take place after the festival closes.
Who doesn’t love a good Wild West Show? Stop by the Festival between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to watch the Key Brothers’ Wild West Show.
You wont want to miss the Demented Deer Gummy Challenge, hosted by Gailbert’s Yesteryears. It will take place on Saturday, October 16th at 2 p.m. Contestants will take on gummies with varying ranges of heat, starting at 14 drops of 1 million SHU and going up to 1/2 of a cup of 5 million SHU pepper extract. Can they take the heat of 5,000,000 Scoville Heat Units? You will have to stop in and watch to find out!
Also on the 16th will be the Fittest Hunter challenge where competitors can test their strength and endurance. Registration starts at 2 p.m. with the contest kicking off at 3 p.m.
One of the all time favorites of the Deer Festival is the Chili Cookoff. Well it is here to stay! The cookoff will kickoff at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. Wrist bands to sample all of the chili are only $5.00 each! Food will be served at 12-Noon.
A much anticipated vendor has joined the Deer Festival this year. We happily welcome the Rouge Archer. They will be bringing with them a 5 Target 3D Archery Shoot, which will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. This is a come and go competition, bring your own bow! They will also have the Virtual Zombie and Sasquatch Shoot. This will be open on Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Ages 9 and up - bows will be provided. And as an added bonus, there will be a Novelty Shoot with $100 payout (sponsored by Superior Wheel and Tire). Come out and test your aim with this long range tire shoot.
The Rouge Archer, along with Antlers Motorsports and FirstBank, are bringing you the Antlers Deer Fest “Slobber Knocker” contest. This contest is open to all youth hunters (must be 18 and under). No sign up needed. Just show up at the festival on the 15th or 16th (Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) to weigh your harvest in. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. at the close of the festival. They will be giving $100 to the heaviest DRESSED doe and $100 to the heaviest DRESSED buck.
There will also be a Cornhole Tournament at this year’s festival. The Rick McCafferty Benefit Cornhole Tournament will take place on October 16th with registration starting at 9 a.m. $40 per team and this is a double elimination tournament. Bags will start flying at 10 a.m. 50% payout - pays to 1st and 2nd.
This year there will not be a Cutest Kids in Camo contest, but in it’s place will be the Buck and Doe Beauty & The Beast Pageant - starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Along with all the fun events and contests there will also be indoor and outdoor vendors, knockerball, pony rides, the deer pen, bounce house, rock wall and so much more. Make sure to stop by the 2021 Deer Festival and Outdoor Show, it looks like an event you wont want to miss!