2023 Ostrich Fest will be one long weekend - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

2023 Ostrich Fest will be one long weekend

January 31st, 2023 SanTan Sun News
2023 Ostrich Fest will be one long weekend

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

This year’s Ostrich Festival will look more like it has for its 33 years as Chandler’s biggest event.

Last year the festival returned after being shut down for two years by the pandemic and organizers made up for that lost time by expanding it over two weekends.

That won’t be the case this year.

“We only did the two weekends last year because of the makeup for 2021,” said Terri Kimble, the president and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce – the organizing sponsor of the Ostrich Festival.

“We were so grateful for that,” she added, referring to the Chamber’s contract with city officials for running the Ostrich Fest. “But we went back to our original agreement and are having it on one weekend.”

However, the Chamber is still expanding that one weekend. Instead of holding it over the traditional three days, this year it plans four days of festivities – March 16-19 at Tumbleweed Park.

The Chamber relies on a grant from the City of Chandler to help pay for the festival.

The entertainment for this year’s festival has not been announced.

Kimble said the festival usually draws between 80,000 and 100,000 people over the course of a weekend. Many of those folks are from outside of Chandler.

“This year, we did an inside-the-fence kind of economic impact for the local community,” Kimble said. “And we estimated that the economic impact was about $9.4 million for the local economy, from hotel nights to restaurants to just everything that it takes to put on the festival – which is pretty significant.”

Dr. AJ Chandler, the founder of the city, was a veterinarian and owned one of the largest ostrich farms in Maricopa County. He was not the only ostrich rancher in the early days of the city. The festival pays tribute to those origins.

In addition to big-name entertainment, the festival also offers rides and food – and, of course, some ostriches.

Kimble said it’s too soon to know how many ostriches will attend.

“It all depends,” Kimble said. “We work with Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm just south on the I-10. And we’d let him kind of decide who’s good. Those animals are his babies they are his family. And so he’s the one who kind of determines who they are going to bring up for the event.”

Expect some big-name acts for the night shows.

Past entertainment has included The Beach Boys, Flo Rida, The Temptations and Andy Grammer. Kimble said there is plenty of room for local acts as well.

The Chamber is currently accepting applications from anyone who is interested in performing during the Ostrich Festival or potential food vendors at ostrichfestival.com.

“We have a community stage where we produce over 100 hours of live entertainment from local dance groups, to obviously the award-winning headliners that we’ve had in the past,” Kimble said. “So we are looking for those local acts as well and dance groups or theater groups.”