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Flip Flop Festival flings its way into its sixth year at bay front peninsula in Port Lavaca

By Natassia Bonyanpour
Aug. 30, 2014 at 2:46 p.m.

Nathan Weir, 10, and his brother, Slade, 7, watch as one of the performers of the United Freestyle Stunt Team from Austin does tricks on a bicycle Saturday during the Flip Flop Festival at Bay Front Peninsula in Port Lavaca. Other events included a flip-flop flinging contest, a horseshoe and washer contest, and a frozen T-shirt contest.

PORT LAVACA - Heavy rain coming down early Saturday afternoon at Port Lavaca's Flip Flop Festival didn't stop people from enjoying themselves.

They took cover under tarps and tents while anticipating the moment when the skies would clear, then continue with the festivities.

The Labor Day weekend event, which is in its sixth year, brings in more than 70 vendors, 15 food booths and a barbecue cook-off to the city's bayfront.

Tina Crow, Flip Flop Festival coordinator, said the name of the event is a reflection of the atmosphere.

"We knew we were on the coast, and we wanted it to be laid-back," she said. "You just see flip-flops galore, sunglasses, and you can smell the smoke of the barbecue. It just speaks South Texas all over."

The event is all in the name of a good cause - it will kick-start a long-awaited Bayfront Veteran's Memorial.

"We've been working on this for a couple years," Crow said. "The memorial will honor all the veterans by having their names on bricks. Family and friends can drive up and reflect."

Veteran Sean Tynes, who volunteered as a judge for the cook-off, said he thought the Flip Flop Festival was a great benefit to Port Lavaca.

"Being that I was in the service, I wanted to support the memorial without a doubt," he said. "Plus, hey - free barbecue."

Along with the fired-up grills, lines of vendors came out to the festival. From a winery on wheels to funnel cake stands, there was a broad selection of food and drinks to choose from.

Festivalgoers kicked back under large, multicolored umbrellas while they got their fill on the customary barbecue menu: charcoal-grilled burgers, hot dogs and ribs dripping in sauce.

"We love the food booths," said Tera Clayburn, who brought her 19-month-old daughter. "Plus, they have a lot of children activities; my daughter has been playing in a giant sandbox."

One of the Flip Flop Festival's most famous games is its "Fling Flong" competition, which draws in contestants from near and far.

"You put on your flip-flops and fling them the farthest you can with your feet," Crow said.

The festival also had several live music acts on its center stage, including a performance by Scott Taylor Band and headliner Bart Crow.

Tina Crow said she has seen the Flip Flop Festival grow by the thousands and hopes it continues.

"The first year, it was 300 people that came out, and last year, it was 3,000," she said. "I see this turning into a large, great festival for Port Lavaca."



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