Kiwanis Turtle Festival attracts record crowd
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 by Justin Cox
An estimated 6,000 Central Texans gathered Saturday at Yettie Polk Park in Belton for the fifth annual Belton Kiwanis Turtle Festival which took place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Belton, the annual Turtle Festival is designed to positively impact children's lives by partnering with community organizations, matching needs with opportunities, and fostering the development of key relationships in the community.
Belton Kiwanis Club President Steven Kirkpatrick said the event was the largest and most successful in its five-year history.
"We had 71 exhibitors on the day, which is up from the previous year. The crowd that we had was by far the largest crowd that we've had," Kirkpatrick said. "One of the workers for the city said we had about 5,000 to 6,000 in the park. We had so many more kid activities that the vendors had out."
Kirkpatrick said that the Home Depot, which had a small workshop running for kids to put together wooden contraptions, actually ran out of building kits because there were so many people taking part.
He added that the festival has come a long way since his first one four years ago.
"It's my fourth festival — I think we had just a handful of exhibitors, about 12," he said. "We want the community to be involved — there was a desire to get a greater number of vendors, who shared the gross proceeds. The food vendors aren't there to make money necessarily — we wanted to give kids a high impact day — have a positive day in their life... So you have all these events that are there for the benefit of kids."
Each entry is a small, numbered floating turtle, and prizes are awarded to the entries to reach the finish line in a given order. It's a simple, but fun-filled event.
The top winning turtle number was 1491, which won the adult contestant a $1,000 Visa gift card.
Additional winning numbers included $100 gift cards to the Home Depot and H-E-B.
The key objectives of the annual Kiwanis Turtle Festival are to provide a spotlight for local and nearby non-profit community organizations.