COPPERAS COVE — Rides twirled through the air carrying laughter and screams of excitement while the smell of turkey legs, funnel cakes and wood-burning oven pizza wafted in the breeze.
“It is a good crowd for a Thursday,” said Betty Price, Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau president. “Thursday is the slowest day, because it is a school night.”
Rabbit Fest, a 33-year Cove tradition, ends Sunday evening and features a carnival, food vendors, arts and craft booths, and a variety of entertainment throughout the weekend.
“Saturday, of course, is the biggest day,” Price said.
The festival’s longest day, Saturday features a car show, parade, bigger and more entertainers, a softball tournament and the Texas Music Jam — a daylong music festival featuring several Texas artists.
“I can’t wait for the music, it is going to be awesome,” said Cynthia Hickey of Copperas Cove.
Several of Hickey’s friends are playing at the Texas Music Jam, before the professionals take the stage at 2 p.m.
Even though Thursday’s festivities weren’t as abundant as the rest of the weekend, Hickey attended Rabbit Fest with several friends just as she has for several years now.
“We were looking forward to it,” said Diamond Jackson of Copperas Cove.
“We just came out here for the food today. But we always come for the rides. It is super fun considering it is here.”
Five-year-old Zain Smith enjoys the carnival attractions but prefers games over food, he said.
“It is pretty fun,” Zain said. “I’ll be out here tomorrow.”
Brent and Daine Dewald, Zain’s aunt and uncle, have attended the festival about 30 years.
“The kids enjoy it, and we like walking around the stores and, of course, the food,” said Daine Dewald.
Price said attendees always debate what is the best part of Rabbit Fest. Her favorite is that the community event has something for everyone.
Traditionally, more than 20,000 people stop by during its four-day run.