RANIER — A young “Big Vic” look-alike winner stole hearts at the annual Ranier Daze festival this year.
Six-month-old Thunder Davis Smith won the coveted title wearing flannel pajamas and a fuzzy fake beard. He and his family are from Dallas, Texas, but have relatives in the Ranier area, as Smith is the great-nephew of “Big Vic” himself, Vic Davis.
City Administrator Sherril Gautreaux said Smith is, “the cutest ‘Big Vic’ yet. Can’t wait to see what he will look like when he grows a real beard.”
According to Gautreaux, this year’s Ranier Daze festival went off without a hitch.
Dogs, beards, food and sun were all present at the event this year. Crowds took over the streets of Ranier, listening to music and browsing vendor booths featuring arts and crafts along Spruce Street.
People gathered at the Ranier Municipal Liquor Store to take part in contests and games, including one that involved moving an Oreo cookie from the contestant’s forehead to their mouth without hands, and a another that required contestants to try to put on a pair of frozen solid underwear.
Finstad’s Auto Marine Shop was open to tour, and outside it on Finstad Lane were displays from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Silent Run Adventures dogsled team.
The temperature was in the 80s on Saturday and many children enjoyed putting their feet in the water during the festivities.
“It is fun having a waterfront where folks could get sailboat rides and voyageur canoe rides,” Gautreaux said.
After a bit of the delay from a crossing train, the much-anticipated parade began. The parade was led by grand marshal, Joanne Finstad, the owner of the historical Finstad’s Auto Marine Shop, and was followed by a dog fashion show.
“We thought the parade went very well this year and was really fun. We had some nice inventive floats and good participation from the community,” Gautreaux said.
Highlights of the event were the parade and the performance by Twist of Fate Saturday night, she said.
In future years, Gautreaux said she hopes that more fun can be added to Ranier Daze, filling the time slot between 5 and 7 p.m., when the activity lulls.
Gautreaux said she was grateful for all who helped organize the annual event.
”It takes lots of effort from lots of folks to put on these festivities,” she said.