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Better than expected attendance makes Sturgis Fest a success

photos Provided by Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce
Sturgis Public Schools transportation department was named “Most Electrified” entry in the Electric Night Parade.
Action from Electric City 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, held on “All Sports” day, along with Dave Locey Triathlon.
Scene from “Bike Night,” an enduring feature at Sturgis Fest.
One of numerous classic cars featured at Sturgis Fest’s “Cruise-In.”
Face-painting was offered at the festival.
“Hispanic Heritage Celebration” was among attractions on day four of Sturgis Fest. It featured performances by Son de Mexico Mariachi and La Venganza Musical.

By Dennis Volkert

Sturgis Fest 2023 took place June 20-24. It opened with the kickoff dinner, where Citizens of the Year Debby Mathis and Ken Mills were honored, along with the festival’s grand marshal, Carol Griffith. It concluded with a fireworks display at Kirsch Municipal Airport.
In between were annual theme days including Family Night, Bike Night, classic car cruise-in and Electric Night Parade. Other highlights were live music performances, by The Jim Cummings Band; amusement rides; an outdoor movie; and plenty of carnival-style food. 
Attendance was higher than average on each night of the festival, said Kari Hatt, executive director of Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. 
On Family Night, food supply was depleted by 6:45 p.m., despite having 25% more than in 2022. 
“The parade was one of the best attended parades in several years and it was evident that our entries worked very hard on creating unique and fun floats that were very well-lit,” Hatt said. 
A favorite of the festival is the night parade. Award-winning entries, chosen by independent panel of voters: 

  • Most Creative: Sturgis District Library.
  • Most Electrified: Sturgis Public Schools transportation department.
  • Best Use of Theme: City of Sturgis.
  • Chamber Choice: Abbott Nutrition.
    Another popular annual feature was the old-fashioned baseball game, part of Family Night. Sturgis Biscuits defeated Elkhart County Railroaders, 11-9. 
    As with any festival based largely outdoors, weather can be a factor for attendance. Mother Nature cooperated for this year’s festival.
    “The weather was darn-near perfect for the week,” Hatt said. “A few sprinkles Saturday morning during the Locey Triathlon, but nothing that hindered any of the events.”
    Hatt said it’s a good feeling that community members could embrace pleasant weather and absorb the experience. 
    Sturgis Fest is an evolving process, she said. 
    “We are already thinking about how we make it bigger and better next year.”

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