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Music, Magic, Feathers & Family Fun
The Ostrich Festival 2011

By Dave Cooper and Mariah Fleming

Ostrich Races

Ostriches, sea lions and pigs, oh my! This weekend expect to see those and many other interesting critters at Arizona's 23rd ANNUAL OSTRICH FESTIVAL, rated one of the top ten festivals in the country. Held in Chandler on March 11th, 12th and 13th, the popular 3-day celebration has loads of exciting, fun-filled attractions and events for everyone. The fun includes live music, with headliners 70's rockers EDDIE MONEY and R&B greats THE SPINNERS, along with some fine local music. You'll also see ostrich displays, pig races, jugglers, comedians, dancers, a Kid’s Zone, a petting zoo…and the list goes on!

Of course, the signature ostrich races, with human jockeys, are probably the most entertaining and wacky part of the weekend. Have you ever seen the look on a person’s face as they mount a seven-foot tall bird and charge around the racetrack against other fine-feathered friends? That alone is worth the price of admission.

Come and see Chandler’s Tumbleweed Park be transformed into a carnival-like atmosphere all weekend. The festival midway hosts a mind-boggling variety of activities, including live music and other live entertainment on two stages. Look for a Family Fun Zone, Beer Garden and food concessions that serve some unusual fare, along with the usual favorites. The Ostrich Burger comes highly recommended.

Never a disappointment to ticket holders, the Ostrich Festival is jam packed with events for both adults and kids…and adult kids at heart. All weekend you'll discover countless unique, fun things to do. How about a full-contact medieval jousting competition with the Imperial Knights, lances drawn, charging full-speed on horseback? Authenticity is the keyword here. Each pass is real and danger filled. See the knights in action as they recreate a timeless tradition with attention to perfection.


There are surprises at every turn at the Ostrich Festival. In the Family Fun Zone watch the kids delight upon seeing aquatic trained sea lions performing. Be amazed by the magic acts. Listen to the collective gasp as prop comedian-juggler MARCUS, minus walls, illusions or curtains, is placed inside a regulation straitjacket with 50 feet of chain, or wrapped from head to toe in 200 feet of Saran wrap, topped off with 180 feet of duct tape, only to escape in front of your eyes. And kids will love the Bob Bohm Magic Show. It's filled with puzzling tricks, games, audience participation shows and general craziness. So be ready if you see a four-foot tall parrot roaming the grounds with a man on its back! And dog lovers will get to see lots of tail wagging at the Wild West Dog Show. Looking for a bona fide cowboy experience? Then gallop on over to the Side Show Tent to see The Rhinestone Roper, Daniel Mink. He is known to thrill his audiences with amazing stunts done by veteran trick horses, not to mention his award winning trick roping, knife throwing, bullwhip cracking, gun spinning and fast draw shooting.

There's more than a little something for the festival's music lovers too! Look for live music on the Community Stage to include Latin rhythms; R&B, Country, Classic Rock and the traditional treat of seeing high school bands strut their stuff. You'll marvel at dancing by the Artistic Motion Dancers and other dance troupes, hear music from headliners EDDIE MONEY and THE SPINNERS, plus a top-notch variety of Arizona based acts.

Beginning on Friday, JACK OF HEARTS starts the music on the Main Stage at 6:00pm with a tribute to Bob Dylan. JACK OF HEARTS is known for performing some of the best of Dylan. Their show spans Dylan's greatest from his early 60's solo acoustic sessions to Dylan's offerings during the 70's.

Friday night’s Main Stage concert at 8:00pm with THE READY SET features a solo project of 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist Jordan Witzigreuter that's sure to wow festival-goers. He released his first full–length studio album I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming in June 2010. His lead single, Love Like Woe hit number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 33 on the Billboard Pop Chart.

This year the OSTRICH FESTIVAL has tied-in with another legendary Phoenix organization, The Phoenix Blues Society, fresh from their acclaimed 20th Anniversary Blues Blast 2011. In an acoustic showcase on the Community Stage veteran bluesman Hans Olson is performing. Also slated to appear are Paris James, blues duo Mikel Lander & Meredith Moore and other Arizona-based acoustic blues players. You'll also hear Valley favorites Chuck E. Baby & the AllStars and the J. Powers Band. Get the full lineup at: www.phoenixblues.org

On Saturday at 1:00pm, kick back with Americana, Blues and Roots Music from JIMMY PINES and WASHBOARD JERE. Then get ready to rip it up with HEARTBREAKER, the Led Zeppelin tribute band. Known for being a cut above other Zeppelin tribute bands, HEARTBREAKER promises a flawless full range of Led Zeppelin LIVE.

On Sunday you can get an autograph and have your picture taken with FREDDIE BENSON (Nathan Kress) of the TV show iCarly. And if it's music and dance you're after, Friday at 6:00pm there's the WAGNER DANCE STUDIO. On Saturday it's the ARTISTIC MOTION DANCERS and the HEAT WAVE DANCERS. Sunday you can catch the moves of PHOENIX USA DANCE, the SI SI PUEDE DANCE TROUPE and discover AUSENTES DE SINALOA.

Eddie Money & The Spinners - Spinners image by Dwight McCannRounding out the weekend and headlining the three-day festival's music fare will be 70's hit makers EDDIE MONEY and the legendary R&B group THE SPINNERS. On Saturday at 8:00pm EDDIE MONEY blasts onstage. The band's hits include Two Tickets to Paradise; Baby Hold On and Take Me Home Tonight. Wrapping up the music on Sunday at 7:00pm the SPINNERS will get their groove on with iconic hits like I’ll Be Around; Rubber Band Man and Then Came You.

Gates to the 23rd ANNUAL OSTRICH FESTIVAL swing open Friday afternoon at 2:00pm with events continuing until midnight. On Saturday the festival is open from 10:00am to midnight. Sunday's final day festivities begin at 10:00am and end at 11:00pm.

Tickets to the 23rd ANNUAL OSTRICH FESTIVAL are available in a Family Pack, All-Day or single ticket. Get complete event info at www.ostrichfestival.com or call 480-963-4571. Find out about Park & Ride options at www.valleymetro.org or 602-253-5000.