Eastland hosts annual RipFest
By: Sierra Wells
Eastland, Texas, held their annual RipFest on Oct. 1, honoring Old Rip, the legendary horny toad who survived 31 years trapped in the old courthouse cornerstone.
“The entirety of the day is filled with something for everybody. If you come to RipFest, we can promise you will find something you love,” Eastland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Hobbs said. “Whether it is the 5K, the parade, the car show, the Art and Wine Festival, the vendors, Kids Street, live entertainment or even the variety of food options.”
Old Rip benefits the people of Eastland and surrounding areas both socially and economically.
“The first weekend in October in our community looks nearly like a big city. Being that it is such a large tourist event, it fills up the hotels, retail and restaurants are crowded and everyone needs gas,” Hobbs said. “It benefits our businesses, and even our housing market. We know of people that have come to Eastland for the day and decided they would love to live here.”
Approximately 160 vendors sold a variety of food, clothing, art, jewelry, home décor and more.
Ashley Gray came to RipFest with her business, Cross and Coe, selling hand-made pouches, totes, makeup bags, scrunchies and more. This is not her first time selling items at this annual festival.
“Before, like ten years ago, I was selling hand-made soaps and things like that,” Gray said. “And, I loved the small atmosphere and the hometown feel, and that’s why I’m going to start coming back every year.”
Rebecca Disner’s booth for BD Cards and Crafts was full of homemade crafts, jewelry, lanterns and shadow-boxes.
“I actually moved from Tucson, Arizona, to Eastland,” Disner said. “And, I just love going to be a part of the fairs that they have going on so that way I can meet people while selling some items that I have.”
The Old Rip Parade allowed community members to gather and celebrate the decorated floats from local groups and businesses.
“The parade is a great way for businesses, organizations and civic groups to advertise,” Hobbs said. “We have the largest number of people gathered on both sides of the street for 10 blocks. The parade is free for everyone to enter, and we continually see it grow each year.”
The Old Rip Pageant 2022 winners were featured in the parade, including Baby Miss Kynlee Marty, Tiny Miss Sutton Velez, Petite Miss Brookyn Wheeler, Little Miss Cody Scott, Teen Miss Madison Scott and Mr. Majestic Milo Pietzch.
Members of Eastland High school, such as the bands, sports teams and cheerleaders, also got involved in the parade as well as the rest of the festival.
“A good majority of the group additionally volunteer. They are either setting up, helping on kids street, working in a booth space or assisting in clean up after the event,” Hobbs said. “We have great leadership in our school district that teaches to lead by doing.”
RipFest returns to Eastland every year on the first Saturday of October.
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