Heather, Hannah and Shawn Prisk, of Funny River, keep tabs on their alpaca, named Abednago, during the Funny River Festival on Saturday.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Not even wet weather could dampen the spirits of the scores of people who took part in the 2007 Funny River Festival on Saturday.
Under umbrellas, blue tarps and other improvised rain-repelling structures, dozens of spectators lined the sides of Funny River Road to enjoy the parade, which kicked off Saturday's festivities. Adults waved and snapped pictures of friends on floats while children darted to and fro to collect the candy tossed from parade entrants on foot, in the bed of trucks and, as one might expect from a rural area, riding and walking with livestock.
"It's a community affair, so it's nice to come out and see everyone and say hi," said Stuart Prisk, of Funny River, who was in the parade with his wife, four daughters and a pet alpaca named Abednago.
"We've been in the parade for about five or six years now. We've got about 30 animals back at the ranch, but (Abednago) is one of our PR animals," Prisk said of mostly chocolate-colored camelid with eyes like big black marbles and short curly locks of hair covering his entire body.
"Normally he just hangs out in the pasture, so I think he enjoys walking in this, but the girls like it even more than him," Prisk said.
Prisk's wife, Diane, said the family didn't mind being in the parade with such persistent precipitation falling from overhead because it's nothing they're not used to given their lifestyle.
Above, Heather, Hannah and Shawn Prisk, of Funny River, keep tabs on their alpaca, named Abednago, during the Funny River Festival on Saturday. Below, Linda Godfrey, of Funny River, holds up a specialty cake with nesting eagles as a cake topper. It was one of many sweet treats given out as part of the cake walk event during Saturday's festivities.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
"Ranch work happens whether it's rain or shine, and the same goes for parades," she said.
The Prisks weren't the only parade participants with a persuasion for pals that eat hay. Fay Tachick of Funny River walked in the parade with her six grandchildren, all on horseback.
"We walk in it every year. We do the Soldotna parade, too, but this one's closer to home," she said.
Tachick said the proximity from her house wasn't the only difference between the Funny River Festival and the much larger Progress Day Parade, held last weekend in Soldotna.
"This one's small, but it's almost all family, friends and neighbors," she said.
Like the Prisks, Tachick said the rain wasn't going to keep her home.
"Oh, no, The kids wanted to be in the parade and they don't mind the weather a bit. There having fun," she said.
Despite positive attitudes about the puddles underfoot, parade entrants and spectators were quick to flood into the Funny River Community Center for the snacks and games that followed the parade, of which the cake walk was by far the biggest draw.
"This is one of our more popular events," said organizer Linda Godfrey.
The event is similar to musical chairs, except in the cake walk when the music stops playing, people that were walking in a circle over numbers on the ground stop, then a numbered ticket is drawn by a caller, and anyone standing on that number wins a dessert.
There were almost more sweet treats than people in attendance, so nearly everyone left with something.
"This year we have around 100 individuals items, such as cakes, pies, plates of cookies, pans of brownies and boxes of doughnuts. The community is really great about bringing out cakes and confections," Godfrey said.
So many banding together for family fun is what is at the heart of the Funny River Festival, according to Roy Johnson, who came from Sterling to attend the event.
"It's a small town, but they're a tight-knit community out here," he said.
The Funny River Festival continues today at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. There also will be button drawings every half hour beginning at 11 a.m.; the sidewalk art contest and auction begin at noon; and the quilt raffle drawing starts at 1 p.m. For more information, call Rose at 260-5963.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at email@example.com.
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