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Feb. 1. 2016

Ostrich Festival Returns to Chandler March 11 for Three-Day Run

By Councilmember Terry Roe

Well folks get ready, it’s all happening again. The countdown to the 28th Chandler Chamber of Commerce Ostrich Festival has begun. The event, which regularly draws more than 100,000 visitors over the three-day extravaganza, is scheduled for March 11-13 at Tumbleweed Park. Every year, the festival keeps getting bigger and better with new attractions, live entertainment, food vendors and the highly anticipated ostrich races.  A week prior to the festival, the Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its annual Mayor’s Fun Run and Ostrich Parade along Arizona Avenue in Downtown Chandler.

The Ostrich Festival is a Chandler tradition since 1988. It began as a community celebration of our ostrich ranching heritage, when Chandler was a leading producer of ostrich feathers in the early 20th Century. Slowly over time, it has grown to become a signature event for our City and one of the premier festivals in the Southwest. 

This year, the celebration kicks off on March 5, with a 5-kilometer run along Arizona Avenue. Walkers and runners of all ages are welcome to participate. Registration is available online at 4peaksracing.com or by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 480-963-4571.  Children under the age of 10 can participate for free. Participants 11 years and older receive a t-shirt with their registration.

After the Mayor’s Fun Run, at 10 a.m., visitors can enjoy the ostrich-themed parade. It is a colorful and lively procession of a hundred entries that include floats, bands, dancers, classic cars and horses. It is a free, must-see event for anyone in the downtown that day.  If that’s not fun enough for you and the family, the annual public safety open houses will take place right around the corner, with demonstrations from our Police and Fire, Health and Medical Departments.

The carnival itself begins on Friday March 11th starting at 2 p.m. The three-day festival takes place at Tumbleweed Park with carnival rides, games, live music, camel and pony rides, a petting zoo, and much more. New this year are a free stingray encounter, wild science exhibit, motorcycle stunts, remote controlled vehicle races and several thrill rides including “the Inversion,” “the Quasar” and “1001 Nachts.” Details about the rides and attractions can be found online at ostrichfestival.com. The Park is located at the southwest corner of Germann and McQueen roads.

The entertainment lineup promises to be appealing to a diverse audience.  There will be nationally recognized country bands and famous Latin, salsa, jazz, rock and hip hop performers.  Magicians, balloon artists, singers, dancers and fictional characters will perform on and off stage to keep the young ones entertained as well.
For the first time, tickets for the festival are available online at ostrichfestival.com. 
There is also an option to purchase Fast Passes to avoid lines for the rides and group packages for 10 people at a 15-percent discount. Regular tickets are $10 for adults; seniors 60 and older and children 12 and under are $7; and children four and under are free. Parking is $5 per car and $3 per motorcycle. From February 10 until March 10, advanced tickets will also be available for sale at Fry’s Food and Drug stores. For further information about the events, tickets and volunteer opportunities, call the Ostrich Festival hotline at 480-588-8497.

A big “thank you” to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and all the sponsors including  SRP, Peoples Mortgage Company, Native Grill, Fry’s Food Stores, the SanTan Brewery, Thorobred Chevrolet as well as all the vendors, participants and volunteers who contribute to the success of this outstanding event.