Each summer during the last week of July, the communities of Crowley, Sugar City, Ordway and Olney Springs gather together in Ordway to celebrate Crowley County Days. This old-fashioned, family oriented celebration is one not to be missed, and offers a variety of activities and entertainment for everyone.
Crowley County Days has been held each year since 1911, and has always stayed true to it's old-fashioned roots. The week long celebration has dozens of sponsors including The First National Bank of Ordway, Arkansas Valley Accumed, Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center and Consolidated Construction who help provide the pancake breakfast, parade, barbecue and other activities on the last Saturday of the month.
The 4-H show is the main feature of the week leading up to the grand finale with local kids demonstrating their skills at raising livestock and crafts. On Friday evening the action really heats up with a rodeo followed by a street dance and a beer garden.
The final day is packed with fun from sun up to sun down. The day starts early with a community pancake breakfast at Conestoga Park, followed by a baby look-alike contest, horseshoe pitching and dessert baking contest. During the early morning, booths, antique cars, old-fashioned carnival games and entertainment venues are set up at the park. By mid morning its time to pick a good spot along the parade route and get ready for the traditional Crowley County Days Parade, which is full of all the fanfare you'd expect plus some entrants you wouldn't expect. Each year a theme is set for the day's events and the parade entrants do their best to represent the theme. Everything from the Army Color Guard to marching bands will be seen in this parade, including a local tradition just for the kids, the best decorated bicycle contest.
By noon, everyone's appetites are stirring from the morning events, so just follow your nose and join the line at Conestoga Park for the best barbecue beef in the valley. Each year the volunteers from the local fire and rescue departments cook up lunch for all, serving over 3,200 pounds of slow cooked beef, with beans, bread, pickles and onions to the hungry crowd, all for just $5.
The afternoon is filled with entertainment and contests in the park. Join in the fun or kick back in a lawn chair and watch the bidding war over the winning desserts from the dessert contest. Stroll through the shady park and shop at the craft booths or get an ice cold snow cone. The park is filled with plenty of booths ready to sell you an ice cold soda or bottle of water, a funnel cake, or just about anything else you can imagine. By late afternoon the celebration is still going strong. For some good clean fun head over to the Crowley County Fairgrounds and root for the trucks at the mud races, where four-wheel drives make their way through a challenging course and the winner gets to brag until next year.
After a full day of fun it's time to let loose and wind down at one of the many dances that are held in the area. Both Ordway and Crowley have live bands performing at local establishments who keep the music going and the dance floors filled until late in the evening.
Visit Ordway and join the Crowley County Days celebration and you will come away with a sense of what old-fashioned family fun is all about.
Plan to visit and take part in one of the longest running celebrations in the state.