After 2-year hiatus, Ostrich Fest plans a big return in March - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

After 2-year hiatus, Ostrich Fest plans a big return in March

January 17th, 2022 development
After 2-year hiatus, Ostrich Fest plans a big return in March
Community
2

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

The Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival was an hour away from starting in March 2020 when nearly the entire country came to a stop.

“The President made the announcement an hour before we were supposed to open the gates. It was awful,” said Jamie LeVine, one of the owners of Steve LeVine Entertainment, which puts on the festival with the city and Chamber of Commerce.

“Everything was completely set up,” LeVine recalled. “It was a sad time for the city, all the vendors, and the performers. We literally set up the festival, just to have to take it all down. It was a sad time.”

President Trump declared a national emergency because of the COVID-19, ending normalcy in America. The Ostrich Festival was just one of many activities canceled as the nation struggled to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

Last year, the Chamber had considered holding the Ostrich Festival in fall.

“We just didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do. We decided to wait. It was a collective decision with the city and the Chamber,” LeVine said.

Two years later. life is poised to return to normal – and that includes the Ostrich Festival.

“We decided to bring it back, bigger and better than ever,” LeVine said.

This year’s Ostrich Festival is scheduled for two weekends for the first time, March 11-13 and March 17-20 at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road. The festival pays tribute to the early days of Chandler when ostrich ranches existed.

It began and drew between 250,000 and 300,000 people over three days. Now they’re expanding it to six days.

The festival includes live entertainment, carnival rides, food, beverages and of course, ostriches.

Country music star Walker Hayes is the featured performer for March 12. His hit “Fancy Like” was number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs list for four weeks. Also lined up is GRAMMY Award winning R&B singer Nelly.

St. Patrick’s Day will fall during the festival and LeVine said special activities are being planned to take advantage of that.

She said the past two years have been rough, with no Ostrich Festival since 2019. She said the performers they are talking to about appearing are all excited to get in front of people again.

“They’re very eager, very excited,” she said. “They’re very interested in coming to see what this Ostrich Festival is all about.”

Admission is $20 for 13 and older, $15 for ages 4 to 12, and free for children 3 and younger. VIP tickets that include access to the front of stage viewing area and VIP tent are $100.

The carnival rides will cost a dollar each, or visitors can purchase 25 tickets for $23 or 80 tickets for $70. They also plan to offer unlimited ride wristbands. No price has been announced for those. For details as the gala event gets closer, check ostrichfestival.com.

And as organizers continue to plan for this year’s bigger and better festival, COVID cases are once again spiking to record highs.

“We’re still a few months away, we’re hoping that the numbers get under control,” LeVine said. “The entire thing is outside, and that is a positive component to this. We’re certainly watching and listening and seeing what other events are doing in the Valley and across the country.”

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.