NOLANVILLE — A carnival atmosphere surrounded the Nolanville City Hall on Saturday at the Fifth Annual Train Whistle Jamboree.

Hosted by the Nolanville Economic Development Corporation, the free, family-friendly and pet-friendly event was embraced by children and adults.

Just like the little engine that could, this event keeps chugging, along picking up steam and growing bigger and better each year. The festival is a team effort between The Economic Development Board and the city manager’s office.

Nolanville City Manager Kara Escajeda said about 50 vendors and organizations participated. “This is the biggest jamboree ever and we’re so glad people are enjoying themselves,” Escajeda said.

The end-of summer celebration was filled with music, food, performances and gobs of activities. The event kicked off at 2 p.m. including games beneath the shade of oak trees, like ring toss and Jenga.

Danielle Strakos watched her sons move large pieces on a game of lawn chess. “The festival has gotten amazing from the first one we saw to this year; it’s wonderful for the community,” she said.

Nearby, students from IMPACT performed tumbling routines, while members of Ballet Folklorico de Colores and Mariachi de Colores played and danced traditional Mexican entertainment in the street.

Back by popular demand were the inflatables, like a water slide and a bounce house shaped like a huge truck.

Also fun for the children were pony rides and a petting zoo that attracted jamboree regulars Dawn Greenwood with her daughter.

“We live in Belton but come every year because it free, safe fun,” Greenwood said.

The police and fire departments manned their equipment displays with other personnel patrolling the grounds. Volunteers drove golf carts taking festival-goers back and forth from their cars to City Hall.

City employee Monica Skelton volunteered for the second year, going wherever she was needed. “Every year they try to bring something different for the people and this year it’s just wonderful,” she said.

Two “Battles of the Jams” took place, one for jams-jellies and one for music with cash prizes going to the winners. A deejay from The Pit Stop Bar and Grill provided the musical soundtrack for the activities.

A screening of the movie, “Sing” started at 7:30 p.m. and was followed by the biggest event of the day — a fireworks show ending at about 10 p.m.

Taking cover under a tent, Bob and Ellen Thompson relaxed eating their barbecue lunch.

“It’s our first time here and it’s a real nice festival,” Bob Thompson said.

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