Wow what a weekend! Snake Saturday is over for another year but what an adrenaline rush! What a passion for an event! You may ask why I keep writing about Snake Saturday on a racing website – well they both have a passion only a few get to experience! In racing fans have their favorite driver, their favorite car, their favorite color, their favorite track. Snake Saturday has the same passion, whether it be the Grand Marshal celebration, the Lad and Lassie event, the Charity Cookoff, the Parade, the festival area, or the carnival. Racing is about competition. Snake Saturday also has competition – who can cook the best steak, who can build the best float, which school band can march the best, who has the favorite racecar in the festival area, who can get the best seat to watch the parade?
Let’s recap the last week and a half and observe how Snake Saturday events are like racing events. We start with the March 6, Grand Marshal Celebration, this event requires sponsors just like a racetrack requires sponsors. At the celebration you will find beer just like you will find at a racetrack. You will find Irish Dancers just like at the racetrack you will find dancing fans. The celebration is like the C.A.R.B. Banquet, you have food, you have emcees, you have an auction all designed to raise money for charities. You have passionate workers at the celebration just like you have passionate workers (officials, concessions, cleaners, etc) at a racetrack.
Saturday March 8 Snake Saturday event Lad and Lassies occurred. What a fun time watching 2 to 4 year olds and 5 to 7 year old children dress up in their favorite Irish costume and walk across the stage for the judges. Like racing the youth is our future, getting them excited about Snake Saturday ensures it survives into the future, just like in racing our drivers are younger and younger ensuring our sport has a future. And with youth, we tend to always root for them. The Little Lad and Lassie and the Lad and Lassie were able to ride on the NKC Iron float designed just for them.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 the passion for Snake Saturday comes out! Seeburg Muffler has for several years hauled the Northland Festivals Grand Marshal float in the parade. What most do not know is their investment in time starts with pulling the float out of storage, thank you John Miller and StorSafe, and taking it to the fire station. A group of Northland Festival leaders met that evening to clean up the float, only before they could get to the float, firemen Dennis and Barry were out vacuuming and cleaning. Their passion is to ensure this float is spic and span clean. Even after the volunteers left, the two firemen went above and beyond purchasing glue and paint and making each rock look like a rock, each flower was cleaned and painted, armor all was used on the Grand Marshal seats, and basically the float was completely refurbished for Snake Saturday. Just like a passionate pit crew, these two firemen were passionate about their float.
Friday, March 14, 2014 the 18th Annual Charity Cookoff, an event sponsored by NKC Hospital, which gives back to churches and to 501c3 organizations. All the contestants must do is pay $25 to enter and then show up and cook a steak provided by US Foods. This year we had 20 teams entered and the festivities net the top team $1000 dollars, with a full field the bottom team takes home $100, what better way to support our charities in a fun and competitive way. Hmm, sounds a lot like a race track, drivers competing on the track having fun, and at the end of the night collecting their prize money. Next year we hope to have at least 25 teams cooking their steaks. We would hope our racing 501c3 organization, the C.A.R.B. Hall of Fame and Museum Inc. will get serious about raising money and enter a team. Again the passion of the sport of steak preparation, observing the teams compete for presentation (rated higher if they tie their entry into the Snake Saturday theme), the tenderness, and then the taste. Oh to be a judge and have to rate the steaks on the three areas of presentation, tenderness, and taste.
Of course all these events lead to the big event of Snake Saturday, the parade and the festival. None of this would be possible if not for the City of NKC and their workers. Howard and his crew did a great job of blocking of the necessary areas, setting up the equipment, and cleaning the city afterwards. Not to mention moving snow piles the week before the event. The Mayor and City Council open city hall to provide a quiet area for the tabulation of the judging, and then allowing the Community Center to be the location for the awards, where over $40,000 in checks are presented to the various charities and groups. Folks that is passion for this event. Yes the business community gains customers, especially on a nice weather day, but the support of the city is like the owners of a racetrack, providing us a place to parade or a place to race. We could not have race events without owners and we could not have the Snake Saturday event without the city support.
Finally, I close with the group which also has a passion for Snake Saturday but their duty does not end the minute the parade is over, in fact their duties become more trying as the crowd migrates to the drinking establishments, the police department. Thank you to each of the officers who keep the parade moving, the crowd back, the floats moving, and then put up with all the calls after the event, including the lost Golf Cart. The Golf Cart is a cute story but only after the fact, you have to be able to laugh. Northland Festivals rented 10 golf carts. The carts were to be picked up at 3 PM, which is also the time the awards start. After the awards were over we went to ensure the golf carts were collected, when we got there the driver only had nine carts, eight on the trailer, and the one he was driving. Since we were responsible for the golf carts we went out searching for the tenth golf cart. At first we thought we had found it in the festival area and drove it back but it turns out the driver took his family to the carnival and the cart was the ninth cart. We then enlisted the help of the police to review their cameras and see if they could observe someone borrowing our last cart, but do to higher priorities she took my number and said she would call back. After giving up the search we were headed back when she called and advised she did not see anyone take a cart, and she asked would we like a police officer to come make a report. We reported yes please. The officer arrived and I realized the cart we were missing was the cart designated for the Community Center Director. Before the officer started writing the report he asked if we would call Greg. Greg informed us his golf cart had been confiscated for use by the NKC Police Chief, so to make a long story short the police borrowed a cart and did not return it at the designated time. It was quite funny listening to the call over the radio to return the lost cart.
Stories like the Snake Saturday recap occur every week at every racetrack through out the country all because of passion. Snake Saturday is complete now it is time for race season. If you enjoyed Snake Saturday but have not been to a racetrack we have some great tracks around the area. Lakeside Speedway is a Friday night track in Kansas City, Kansas, I-35 Speedway is exit 64 north of Cameron on Saturday night, Valley Speedway is located east of the city just off I-70. So let the race season begin, show your passion just as the city of NKC showed their passion these past couple of weeks!