28th Annual Anchor Fest in Centralia

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CENTRALIA- An anticipated 20,000 people will be going to Anchor Fest in Centralia this weekend in what is an economic boost for the town and fun for all in attendance.

The festival has carnival rides, food, local vendors, games and live music. One of the biggest attractions is the car show tomorrow that brings in around 250 cars every year, according to Centralia Chamber of Commerce President Don Bormann.

Being a landlocked, mid-Missouri town, Anchor Fest is not named after your traditional anchor.

AB Chance developed the earth anchor to hold power poles in place. They’re now used for foundation walls and supporting buildings.

AB Chance, owned by Hubbell, is the single largest employer in Centralia.

One of the biggest draws of the festival is the Anchor Driving Contest. People of all ages race to see who can drive the earth anchor all the way into the ground the fastest, with different sized anchors for different ages.

Now in it’s 28th year the festival continues to be a strong economic boost to the town, specifically for the Rotary Club of Centralia, who have put on the Rotary Ribeye Booth for the past seven years.

This year they will sell about 1,000 ribeye, 1,200 hamburgers and 1,500 curly fries according to Tom Elsbury, a member of the Rotary Club.

Elsbury says this booth alone will generate between 10,000 to 15,000 dollars that will go right back into the community.

This money will go to the Centralia Senior Center, local schools, Boy Scouts of America, the Make a Wish Foundation and other various organizations.

People are attracted to the event with free admission, live music and various contests. But the city is still able to do quite well despite a variety of freebies.

“All your vendors here they are all selling stuff,” Elsbury said. “The rides are not free, you have to buy tickets for that, typically sales for that are usually six figures. That benefits the city of Centralia greatly.”

Outside of the money, Anchor Fest also provides a unique opportunity to show off Centralia.

“It gives us a chance to showcase the community and potentially get new people to move into the area,” Elsbury said.

The economic benefits and exposure provide a lot for this small community, but the festival’s biggest benefit may be how it brings people together.

“Anchor Fest is our community festival. Every community should have some sort of a festival,” Bormann said. “Especially small communities, it’s something that draws the community together.”