"I just hope everyone comes out and supports our businesses. They had a rough go at the Sip and Shop, so I hope everyone can come out and have some fun and enjoy some shopping," said Irene Delgado, executive director of the Dumas downtown Association. On Saturday, the association and the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce will hold the first annual Ears and Beers Festival and sidewalk sale in downtown Dumas.
Beginning at 10:00 am and lasting until 10:00 pm, visitors to the courthouse square and the streets surrounding it will find food, entertainment, shopping, and an opportunity to get out and socialize in what Delgado and Chamber Executive Director Carl Watson are hoping will be normal, late summer weather. They, like the organizers of the Y' s Texas Tumbleweed 100 bicycle race/ride that is taking place on Saturday as well, have their fingers crossed. Two weeks ago, the Sip and Shop event planned by Delgado was supposed to combine eating from food trucks, enjoying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with shopping outdoors at vendor booths and downtown stores. It started off strong, but a sudden deluge of rain sent shoppers and vendors alike running for shelter. Delgado says the vendors from that event will be back on Saturday and downtown stores will be open all day and into the evening offering bargains and special sales. The National Weather Service is predicting clear weather with highs in the 80's on Saturday, but as Moore County residents who have just experienced a weird dose of winter this week know, there are no guarantees in the Texas Panhandle.
The event Saturday is one of a number of downtown shopping, food, and entertainment events that Watson, Delgado, and others are hoping will promote local businesses and restore downtown Dumas to its former place as a destination for shopping and entertainment. Ears and Beers was supposed to coincide with the opening of the Toppled Turtle microbrewery and pub, which Watson and others are hoping will be an anchor business downtown that will encourage the development of more entertainment, shopping, and eating opportunities in the area. Construction delays in the renovation of the old Phillips and Son building has sidelined the Toppled Turtle for this event, but The Plaza restaurant will be selling beer on the courthouse square for those of legal age. Watson says there will be a table set up for identification checks, and wristbands will be given out to those allowed to legally drink. Watson says the Toppled Turtle will eventually open, just not by Saturday.
Ears and Beers, the sidewalk sale, and the Texas Tumbleweed 100 are all happening on the same day for a reason. Watson says both he and Y officials are hoping that having the events all on the same day will draw more people. "We will give it a try and see if it works," he said.
The Ears refers to corn. When planning the event, Watson said, organizers were wanting something to reflect the importance of agriculture to the area's economy. Corn will play a big role Saturday. There will be a corn-eating contest with prizes, and visitors will be able to purchase bakers' dozens of fresh corn on the cob for $5. There is a $5 entrance fee to get into the area. It includes free "all you can eat" freshly cooked corn all day. The Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club will be cooking it up. Watson says the Chamber is only taking cash on Saturday, no credit or debit cards. And he adds, the $5 entry fee does not include all you can drink free beer.
For those hungry for something more than corn Saturday, there will be four food trucks set up around the courthouse offering a variety of foods from barbecue to gourmet sandwiches and salads. As the bicycle event in McDade Park winds down, the two trucks serving customers there will move downtown.
Visitors Saturday will be able to shop and eat to live music all day long. Starting at 10:00 am fiddlers will perform on the square, followed at 12:00 pm by Roman Carbajal, the Crupo Kabales Band at 2:00 pm, Caliche Dust at 4:00pm, and the North Ridge Band at 6:00 pm.
Finally, Watson says that to make sure everyone has a safe good time, there will be four deputies from the Moore County Sheriff's Office on hand throughout the day.