by HANNAH BROADBENT
Last Saturday, almost two hundred cars and hundreds more people took over the Old Schoolhouse Park and Mayer Community Center for the annual Mayer Rising Community Festival.
“It’s 11:00 a.m. and we have 180 cars, so hoping to get 200,” said chair of the festival Tom Stifter.
Eight years ago when Stifter started the Mayer Rising Festival all he wanted was a car show. Now, the kids activities, food trucks and craft show are staples as well.
“The festival really makes it a family event, it seemed a lot of car shows didn’t have family activities,” he said.
Erica Hoese has been a Mayer resident for 13 years now. She said her husband hasn’t missed the event once, but this is her first year. Hoese said she wanted to attend because it’s something to do on a Saturday and it’s fun for the kids.
Her daughter, Ryann did the pedal pull and Hoese was upfront cheering for her daughter. She said it’s good for her daughter to participate in these activities, and Mayer Rising had plenty for her daughter to do.
“It’s good to bring families together, and getting people out versus being indoors,” she said.
Stifter said the weather was perfect and the turnout is what he expected, he said he couldn’t be happier. He said he gets thank you’s from event goers for putting the event on. Car show participant and Young America resident, Roger Pavek is one of those grateful attendees.
“It’s great, all kinds of people come here and it’s close by,” he said.
Pavek has been attending the event since its first year. He said every year he has a tractor to show but this is his first year in the car show instead. Pavek brought a 1955 Willys Marine Corp Jeep, the green vehicle decorated with two American flags had plenty of fans.
Pavek said the car show has gotten bigger every year. He says he’s car guy, so the car and tractor show along with the antique engines are his favorite part of the festival. Though he appreciates the kids activities like that children’s tractor pull, or pedal pull.
“That’s cool to watch and the kids are having fun,” he said. “If the kids are happy, mom and dad are happy.”
Volunteer Debby McMillan has lived in Mayer for 30 years and said she remembers when there were only 350 people in Mayer. She said she has seen Mayer and the festival grow.
“It’s grown in leaps and bounds, there are more and more people every year,” she said.
McMillan is one of about 30 volunteers. She worked the registration booth for the car show. She said it’s her favorite because she loves seeing the cars come through. McMillan said she has been volunteering for the event and organizing beforehand since it’s inception. She said they always need more volunteers.
“We’ve always been involved, it’s a great community and we love being here,” she said. “It’s important to give back.”
Stifter said though he wasn’t thinking about next year during event, but he starts planning a minute after the last
“This year, it’s a 10 for us,” he said.