The Kiwanis Club of Arkansas City spent Oct. 23/Sunday afternoon cleaning the Union State Bank parking garage downtown in anticipation of its pancake feed on Oct. 29/Saturday morning.
While Kiwanis is not the only group that has begun preparations for Arkalalah, the cleaning of the garage signifies just as much as the first appearance of the Medallion Hunt clues that the week of the annual fall festival officially has arrived.
The tables for the pancake feed will be put up at 9 a.m. today/Oct. 24 and stay in place until after the event is over.
The chicken noodles for the Kiwanis food booth will be ready early this week to be served at the booth that always sits at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Summit Street. On the northwest corner, the Optimists will serve their pork burgers.
Before noon Thursday/Oct. 27, the streets will be filled with the smells of Arkalalah food and the sounds of carnival rides starting or stopping.
The streets will be lined with other food booths that support local organizations, as well — the Lions Club is located at Central Avenue and Summit, while Arkansas City Christian Academy and Jefferson Elementary School are at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Summit, and the Knights of Columbus at the southeast corner of the same intersection, to name just a few.
This year, there are 26 food booths, some of which are brand-new to the festival.
Although it has been in town often in the past year, Charlie’s PizzaTaco never has been a vendor for Arkalalah, nor has Papa Ted’s Pizza.
None of the food booths would be possible, though, without the work of the City of Arkansas City.
Parks and Facilities Director Tony Tapia, Public Services Superintendent Randy Jacobs, and their crews spend weeks preparing for Arkalalah, from street cleanup to the placement of the electrical poles that line the side streets downtown.
Their teams also put out the Porta-Potties and road barriers that keep downtown Summit Street devoid of traffic on Saturday.
When the founders of Arkalalah put on the fall festival for the first time, none of these modern-day amenities were available. The carnival likely was not part of the festivities for many years.
But the morale of the townspeople was important to the founders of Arkalalah and the festival thus was created in 1928, despite the Depression in which the country was mire.
This year, whether you worked to help make Arkalalah happen this year or you just are attending the festival, please remember the intention of Arkalalah was to have a good time. So belly up to your favorite food booth, ride the carnival rides and enjoy the parade!