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Annual celebration of phosphate discovery Saturday

By Jeff Bryan

Pageants, pie-eating contests, six-gun shoot outs are sure to create quite the ruckus, but not at the same level of 1890s Dunnellon when phosphate was discovered.


Boomtown Days Dunnellon will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, with the Boomtown Kickoff Breakfast and Six Gun Shootout at 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Historic Train Depot. Pancakes with all the fixings will be $6. Tickets are available at the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association office through 3 p.m. today.

Festivities on Saturday will begin with a classic car show, with the annual Little Miss and Mister Dunnellon at 11 a.m., the King, Queen and Princess of the Rainbow Pageant at 2 p.m., Six-Gun Shootouts and cancan girls performing throughout the day as well as live music by local artists Keith Caton, who will perform at 1 p.m., Final Note, which will perform at 3 p.m., and more.

Additionally, there will be a Kids Zone, with games, crafts and other activities, hosted by Souls Harbor Church of Dunnellon.

“We may be adding one more local musician to the mix,” said Julie Mancini, Chamber executive director.

A new highlight for the day will be the inaugural Boomtown Days “Pie Eating Contest,” sponsored by the First United Methodist Church Harmony Preschool. First United Methodist Church will also host a cake walk throughout the day on the same spot.

The pie eating contest will begin at 1 p.m. on the lawn of Always Something at the corner of Walnut and Cedar Streets. To register for the contest, call Crystal at 352-361-4310. So far, 11 people have registered for the event. While the main fare will be apple pies, Crystal said contestants can bring their own favorite dish to eat from.

“We have a pretty good turnout,” she added. “It’s just to have good fun.”

The day’s events are sure to provide plenty of great photo opportunities, Mancini said.

“I hope everyone will be there with their cameras,” she said with a laugh. “We’re confident this will be a big hit and become an annual event. I think not only will the contestants have fun, so will spectators.”

For those aiming to squelch their appetite, there will be a myriad of food options available at Boomtown Days in the event festival-goers aren’t there to satisfy their sweet tooth, Mancini said.

“A lot of local businesses will have booths,” Mancini added. “Quite a few of them are doing prize drawings. Some of them have some very nice prizes.”

The DCBA will have a tent, with prizes available too. In addition, DCBA volunteers will conduct a survey about visitors to the event. The Dunnellon Historical Society will have a booth as well, with a timeline display showing the city’s history and will sell copies of J. Lester Dinkins’ book, “Dunnellon: Boomtown of the 1890’s: The Story of Rainbow Springs and Dunnellon.”

For information and updates, visit Dunnellon Boomtown Days on Facebook or call 489-2320.