The countdown is on for the return of a favorite local tradition next week. Country Days 2018 will hit the Bolivar square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

Susan Sparks, president of the Downtown Bolivar Association, which hosts Country Days, and an organizer of the event, said attendees can expect to see traditional favorites return to the fest, which has roots dating back to May 1974.

On tap are community group performances by Cheers Elite Spirit Gym, Center Stage Dance Studio and Tumbles Gymnastics, the Andrews State Farm Kids Alley, a photography contest, a car show and familiar vendors.

Organizer Mark Sparks said several new entertainment acts are slated for this year’s fest.

At the top of the list is Zamar, a band made up of Bolivar High School students. The band will perform on the Main Avenue stage at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m.

One-man circus Jason D'Vaude will be on hand throughout the day offering strolling performances, Mark Sparks said, as well as two stage shows on the Springfield Avenue stage at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. D’Vaude’s act includes fire, juggling, a unicycle, comedy and more.

Renata — an American country/rock trio composed of siblings, Collin, 19, Adrienne, 15, and Benny, 12 — will offer a performance at 12:15 p.m. on the Main Avenue stage. Originally from Branson, the trio now lives in Nashville. Their live show includes everything from Johnny Cash to John Mayer, as well as original music.

The trio of siblings will join their parents as Matt’s Family Jam for two additional performances at 1:30 and 4 p.m. on the Main Avenue stage.

Get your bake on

Susan Sparks said the festival will feature a new event this year — a cupcake contest.

The contest is open to both aspiring and professional bakers.

Each entry should include a set of three matching cupcakes. Recipes may be from scratch or a doctored-up box mix.

Participants should check in their cupcakes from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at Village Boutique on the south side of the square.

The contest fee is $3 per entry. Participants may enter up to three sets of cupcakes.

Ribbons will be given for the top three entries in both the aspiring and professional categories. Cupcakes will be judged on taste, overall texture, overall appearance and creativity.

For more information and the registration form, visit or DBA’s Facebook.

Ready, aim, click

All Creatures Animal Clinic is the sponsor for this year’s Country Days photo contest. Photo entries will be on display in the courthouse Sept. 8.

Susan Sparks said organizers are looking forward to this year’s contest being an even bigger hit than in past years.

“It is very exciting to have All Creatures Animal Clinic as the photo contest sponsor this year — last year we had over 75 photos entered,” she said.

Categories this year include:

●    Polk County hometown pride — Subjects may include places, events, architecture and anything else Polk County;

●    Black and white — All subjects eligible;

●    People being people — Subjects should “capture the essence of a moment of life”;

●    Nature;

●    Landscape;

●    Animals we love; and

●    Automobiles.

Entries are limited to one per category per person. A $2 entry fee is required for each photo submitted.

Photographs should be 8-by-10 inches and mounted. Basic editing is acceptable. Entries with frames and digital borders will not be accepted.

Entry forms and more information are available at and on DBA’s Facebook.

Entries may be dropped off, along with required entry form available, by Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Polk County Genealogical Society or between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at the courthouse.

Show off your wheels

This year will also see the return of the annual Country Days Car Show. Registration will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 8.

Trophies will be awarded to the first three places in each division.

There is a $15 registration fee in advance and $20 entry fee the day of the show.  

For more information and registration forms, visit or DBA’s Facebook.

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