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White tigers coming to annual Yoakum Tom Tom Festival

By Sonny Long
June 1, 2010 at 1:01 a.m.

Two newborn white tiger cubs will be on display as part of the Royal White Tiger Discovery Exhibit on Friday and Saturday at the 82nd annual Yoakum Tom Tom Festival.

ABOUT WHITE TIGERS

The royal white tiger has been extinct in the wild since 1958.

The first white tiger came to the United States as a gift to President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961.

Currently there are about 40 white tigers on exhibit in the large accredited zoos in the United States.

SOURCE: Zoo Dynamics

YOAKUM - One of the Crossroads' oldest festivals is changing its stripes - adding stripes might be more appropriate.

The 82nd annual Yoakum Tom Tom Festival is welcoming some special guests to this weekend's event: rare white tigers.

Visitors to the Royal White Tiger Discovery Exhibit will also be among the first in the country to see two cubs, who were born in May.

"We are excited to add this special exhibit to the festival," said Bill Lopez, president of the Yoakum Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's a unique opportunity."

The exhibit will include the baby white tiger nursery with the newborns, as well as two adult white tigers including Gita, the 420-pound mother.

In addition, visitors to the exhibit will have the opportunity to help name the two new cubs, said Shannon Nelson of Zoo Dynamics of Dallas, which is bringing the exhibit to Yoakum.

The exhibit will set up at the city park beginning Friday afternoon. Admission to the exhibit is $3.

PAGEANTS

Tom Tom activities began Tuesday night with the prince and princess pageant. The Miss Yoakum, Junior Miss, Little Miss and Little Mister pageants are scheduled for Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Yoakum Community Center, 105 Huck St.

The carnival returns to the festival this year beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the city park, 703 South Park Road.

Also Thursday a team roping competition starts at 7 p.m. at the rodeo arena in the park.

FRIDAY

Activities get into high gear on Friday afternoon at the city park unless otherwise noted.

Tours of the Yoakum Heritage Museum, 312 Simpson St., will be held from 1-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The biergarten opens at 2 p.m. and remains open to midnight. For the kids, the pony wheel and petting zoo opens at 4 p.m and the carnival opens at 6 p.m.

The annual kiddie parade starts at 6:30 p.m. downtown and entrants are being accepted by calling 361-741-6614 by Thursday.

Food booths are open from 5 - 11 p.m., and free polka music by New Edition is available in the park from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The rodeo arena will be alive, too, with a Cowboy's Professional Rodeo Association rodeo starting at 8 p.m.

SATURDAY

Saturday is a big day at Tom Tom with a barbecue cook off and a Chili Appreciation Society International chili cook off that begin with a sign in at 7:30 a.m.

From 1-4 p.m., a tomato and tomato cooking contest will be at the museum.

A volleyball tournament starts at 9 a.m. A parade and opening ceremonies start at 9:30 a.m. in downtown.

Kids' games will run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. There will be arts and crafts and food booths from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Cowographers, a Wild West show, will perform at noon, 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There will be a car, truck and motorcycle show from noon to 4 p.m.

Dolly Shine will provide music from to 1-3 p.m.

At 1 p.m., visitors can compete in a horseshoe tournament, a washer tournament and a salsa contest. The annual Star wiener dog race - "Revenge of the Short Legs," starts at 1:30 p.m.

Cook off awards will be handed out at 5:30 p.m. and a CPRA rodeo begins at 8 p.m.

At the community center a concert starts at 8 p.m. with the Bart Crow Band and Kyle Park performing. The concert ends at 1 a.m. Presale tickets are $15 and $18 at the door.

For more information on Yoakum Tom Tom Festival activities call 361-293-2309.

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