BALLINGER– A colorful parade and a unique program dragged many to Ballinger on Saturday, April 28, 2012, for the celebration of the 37th Festival of Ethnic Cultures, hosted by the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce at the Runnels County Courthouse square.

The fest started early, with the registration of the participants for the Noon Lions Club Colorado River Bikefest. This year the event brought almost 70 participants from places all over the region such as San Angelo, Big Spring, Brownwood, Abilene, Christoval, Sweetwater and San Marcos.

The Bikefest included a 5K walk, run and ride, as well as 30K, 60K and 100K bicycle rides. Proceeds of the event help those in need with sight and hearing disabilities, eye glass recycling, the Texas Lions Camp and many other community services.

In the 100K ride Scott Morris, of Brownwood, placed first, followed by Chad Freeze, of San Angelo, and Gaylon Knowlton, of Big Spring. In the women’s division Deonna Shake, of Abilene got first.

In the 60K men ride Ron Cost and Manny Correzl, both of Abilene, tied in first. Kirk Maberry, of Sweetwater placed second, and the third place was for Steve Davenport, of Big Spring. In the women’s division Terri Fillmon, of Haskell, got first; Velma Ogan, of San Angelo got second, and Liz Rappe, of Christoval placed third.

In the 30K ride, Men’s division the first place was for Dwayne Oatiely, Gene Gomez, of San Angelo placed second and the third place was for Jerry Middleton. In the women’s division Amie Bedgood, of San Marcos placed first, Diana Collins, of Ballinger was second and JoAnne Andrys, was third.

Zach Fuentes was the winner of the Youth 5K Bike Ride, and at age 10 also got a plaque as the event’s youngest contestant. In the Male Adult 5K Francisco Herrera, of Sweetwater placed first, and Jesse Hopper, of Ballinger was second.

In the 5K Bike Ride women adult division Stacy Hopper, of Ballinger placed first followed by Cassie Reyes, of Sweetwater, and Janis Potter, of San Angelo.

In the 5K Run Michelle Maberry, of Sweetwater, placed first, followed by Gloria Allen, of Voss, Texas, and Loretta Hernandez, of Rosco. Winner of the 5K Senior division was Mary Kaplan, of Sunrise Beach, Texas, who also got a plaque as the event eldest participant.

The Ethnic Festival program included feature presentations of Zach Edwards Band, the San Angelo Lonestar Cloggers, the Havalak-Balta Polka Band, Jimmy Rose, and Los Tejanos Band.

The crowning of Miss Ballinger and Court was held at the Courthouse lawn. Ballinger High School Junior Virginia Hauser was crowned 2012-2013 Miss Ballinger, Sophomore Hannah Pinckney was First Runner Up and Freshman Jordan Frierson was Second Runner Up. Outgoing Miss Ballinger Courtney Gibbs crowned the new Court and wished them well with her farewell speech as Miss Ballinger.

This year booths at the Courthouse lawn included Runnels County 4-H Club German food, the Ballinger Humane Society with drinks and popcorn, Ballinger Masonic Lodge selling the traditional hamburgers, and many other booths offering a wide variety of foods going from turkey legs to funnel cakes.

The 37th Ethnic fest ended north of town, on Highway 158, where hundreds attended the Mud Boggin’ competition, held at the Ballinger Old Rodeo Arena.