Bring your 'sugar' to OatFest in Bertram this weekend

“Bring their sugar” to Bertram for the 40th Annual Oatmeal Festival, is the official invitation for Burnet County fun this Labor Day weekend.

The festival celebrates the historic community of Oatmeal with a line up of free, family events.

There is a reason all times for the festival events begin at three minutes after the hour or half-hour. It's because 3-Minute Brand Oats help keep OatFest alive and vibrant to this day.

This year's festival begins at 5:03 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at the Oatmeal Community Center with arts and crafts and a barbecue supper. At 6:33 p.m., the Miss Oatmeal Pageant will be held as 2016 Miss Oatmeal Queen Izzy Ramon will hand over her title to this year's winner. All participants in the pageant are Burnet Consolidated Independent School District students. Other titles include Miss Oatmeal Princess, Miss Oatmeal Cookie, Miss Oatmeal Muffin and Miss Little Bit of Oats.

A benefit auction will be going on during the pageant. At 8:03 p.m., the Young Guns will take the stage to entertain the crowd.

On Saturday, Sept. 2, the fun switches back to downtown Bertram where activities begin at 8:03 a.m., including a trail ride from Oatmeal to Bertram, arts and crafts and food vendors and the 3.3-mile “Run for Your Oats” fun run. Runners will receive complimentary t-shirts commemorating the festival's 40th anniversary. Reserve your spot on the Start line by registering online through RunReg at runreg.com/oatmeal-festival.

The Oatmeal Bakeoff begins at 9:03 a.m. at the Allied Underground Building (at the corner of Vaughan & Grange).

At 9:33 a.m., the Oatmeal Pet Parade will kick off on Vaughan Street, followed by the Grand Parade at 10:33 a.m.

Entertainment starts at 11:03 a.m. at the air-conditioned, historic Globe Theatre and continues until 5:03 p.m. An all-day wristband is just $5.

Other entertainment begins at the park stage in Johnnie Mae Wheeler Park and on the City Stage downtown at 11:33 a.m. On the park stage will be the Bluebonnet Pickers, Hill Country Blenders and Rio Rising. On the City Stage will be Harmony School of Arts, Yogi Fit and Courage Cheer.

At 12:03 p.m. a Washer Pitching Contest will be held, along with the “World Championship Games” on Vaughan Street and Children's Games behind City Hall. Games include the Cow Chip Kick, Oatmeal Eating, Egg Toss, Tortilla Toss, Oat Box Stack, Goat Pill Pop-off and the Toilet Seat Toss.

At 1:33 p.m. will be the annual Homecoming at the Joanne Cole Mitte Memorial Library Meeting Room. This is a great time to get together and reminisce with friends and family.

Results of the Oatmeal Bakeoff will be announced at 3:03 p.m.

There is no need to grab lunch or dinner elsewhere because this year the festival has a new barbecue cook-off for all to enjoy. Get a full barbecue meal of beef brisket, ribs, chicken, potato salad, drinks and of course beans to eat at the festival for $10. Be sure to purchase a delicious barbecue take-home meal or two to enjoy later when you leave. There will be 11 cooking stations preparing meat. There are also countless other food vendors to choose from, offering icy cold drinks and sweet desserts for your enjoyment!

The 40th annual Oatmeal Festival will host a street dance, featuring local artists, Jarrod Birmingham and Anson Carter. There is a $10 cover charge at the door. Some fun activities and food vendors from during the day activities will also be there.

Many local business actively support the mission of this festival through sponsorship and participation. They consider it a great opportunity to reinvest in their community. Organizers insist that this annual festival would not be possible without full community involvement, vendors, sponsors and committed volunteers, who welcome such support.

Several of Bertram's downtown streets will be closed to accommodate runners, skits, parades, music, vendors, games, and other fun and unusual activities that make up the 40th annual Oatmeal Festival. All of this, in addition to the growing number of out of town guests that this event attracts, is expected to fill downtown Bertram.

Local area residents support this event, because the two-day party has a truly noble purpose: Festival funds raised go to support scholarship opportunities for high school students, and to support other activities that help strengthen local community. The amount raised has increased since the inception of this annual program.

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