The community surrounding The Cays always has some exciting and unique events going on. The Cays community is in close proximity to shopping, dining, and local attractions, as well as annual events like golf events, car shows, and even The Ostrich Festival.
The Ostrich Festival is Chandler’s way of celebrating its early history as a center of ostrich ranching. The 2015 event in Tumbleweed Park was another fun-filled celebration that included ostrich races, shows by name entertainers and family fun.
Carnival rides kept kids and adults entertained. A variety of great fair food was available throughout the grounds.
The Ostrich Festival has been going strong since 1989, attracting more than a quarter of a million people annually to the three-day happening. The ostrich has held an important place in the community for a century.
By 1914 ranches in the Phoenix area were raising more than 6,000 of the large birds. That was 80% of all ostriches in the U.S. at the time. They were raised for their feathers, much in demand for women’s hats and adornment.
With feathers selling for $10 to $300 a pound, ranchers thrived. In fact A.J. Chandler, founder of the town, had over 500 ostriches, one of the biggest flocks.
The market crashed in 1915, due to the war and changing fashions. But ostriches are still big in the town, though mostly it’s their image you find, everything from fiberglass statues to ostrich burgers on the menu of local eateries.
The Ostrich Festival celebrates this colorful, feather-filled past. It a not-to-be-missed three days.
The kickoff was March 7 with a fun run, followed by the Ostrich Parade. The Festival was March 13, 14 and 15.
Events at the 2015 festival included appearances by Lauran Marano from Disney’s Austin and Ally, singer Colt Ford, Alice Cooper with Dash Cooper and COOP.
The Ostrich races were once again a highlight. Ostriches don’t have the most expectable behavior, so riding one is both an art and an unpredictable challenge.
The Texas Thrill Show captivated its audience with daredevil stunts. The Wheel of Destiny aerial and high wire motorcycle act was breathtaking.
The Birdman was back with his eagles, hornbills, cassowary, cockatoos, macaws, parrots and emu. What got the most attention was his condor with its incredible 10-foot wingspan. The Birdman is famous, having appeared with Siegfried and Roy, and David Copperfield, as well on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Jason Divad enthralled the crowd with unicycling, juggling, headstands, fire eating and other circus talents.
Great Fun for Everyone
The flight simulator let adults and teens see what it’s like to fly their own plane. It was an instant hit at the Festival.
Shark Encounter let the audience see this amazing fish up close, dispelling the myth they are simply bloody and frightening.
The Rocket Man, Chachi Valencia, stunned watchers as he was shot from a cannon, moving through the air at an amazing 55 mph at a height of 65 feet over a course that was 165 feet long.
Kids Love Ostrich Festival Time!
The Petting Zoo is always a big attraction for families with young kids. The baby calves, pigs, burros, buffaloes, goats and miniature horses are child-size and approachable.
Youngsters and adults had a terrific time jumping on the bungee trampoline. This amazing setup lets a person jump 20 to 26 feet—that’s over two stories high! A person can defy gravity, performing maneuvers you would think impossible.
The Family Game Show of Survivor, a mashup of Gilligan’s Island and Survivor, let contestants go through hilarious immunity challenges. The audience voted for the winner.
Kids enjoyed the Duck Race, using live Mallard ducks on a water track. These fast birds have been showcased on the Tonight Show and in articles in the Wall Street Journal.
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