Catfish races, classic cars and motorcycles are back again this weekend for the 27th annual Bethel Island '50s Bash. While other local area shows have lost its steam, the '50s Bash is still running strong according to organizers.
Local residents say the town might be small, but they know a good time when they see it.
"This is really a hometown community event," said Dori Anderson, one of the '50s Bash's coordinators. "We get the community involved to make sure everyone feels part of the town and enjoy where you living."
The '50s Bash started during a time where it was common for small-town festivals and fairs to bring out the locals in celebration of their town. Over the past few years several of the neighboring communities have shut down their big events while Bethel Island has stayed the course, adding fun activities and continuing to invite the public to enjoy what they have to offer.
One of the recent additions to the show is the annual dog show. The returning Saturday morning event features dogs of all kinds and varieties vying for several prizes, when in reality Anderson says that most every dog goes home with a prize.
"Some of the dogs come in costume and some just come naturally cute, as I like to call it," Anderson said. "It is so hard to pick out the prettiest or the cuties. I like to think that even the ugly dogs are cute."
The catfish races are brought back every year as a fundraiser for the Bethel Island Lions Club. The event is exactly what it says. Catfish line up in a water pool and sent on their way to swim across. As in horse racing the first one to hit the finish line is the winner. Tickets are sold both days from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for each race and the winner takes home half the pot for each race.
The Lions Club uses its share of the pot to support its local charities and activities.
The Sunday afternoon duck races are continuing to draw in the supporters. Each year the residents purchase tickets in advance at local restaurants and businesses and on the day of the show at the '50s Bash.
"When you purchase your duck for $5 you get your name put on a sales list and receive a number and adoption papers for the duck," Anderson said. "You don't have to be present for the duck race to win."
There is a first, second and third place cash award for the duck races.
Another long-standing activity for the Bethel Island '50s Bash is choosing the queen of Bethel Island. This isn't an ordinary beauty contest. Each contestant for the '50s Bash contest has to sell raffle tickets. The one who sells the most tickets by Sunday morning will be the queen of the town for a year.
Anderson said that this position comes with some responsibility, including attending Bethel Island Bingo functions, chamber events and whatever other special activities that the group has. Of course the '50s Bash would not be complete with the Saturday Classic Car Show and the Sunday Classic Motorcycle Show. Both events host awards for various categories.
For more information of the '50s Bash see the chamber's website at www.ethelisland-chamber.com.