22 Jul

July 22, 2010

I’ve got my summer vacation all set and I cant wait until September!

September? Doesn’t summer vacation end in August?

No way baby! Summer vacation doesn’t even begin until the annual Chester Illinois Popeye Picnic!

Popeye was created in 1929 and was originally a bit player in the comic strip “Thimble Theater.” When passed on the dock by Castor Oyl (brother of Olive Oyl, and that gag wore thin fast) and asked “Are you a sailor?” Popeye, showing the humor and wit that would soon make him a household name, answered by punching Castor through a hull. Sorry, no, his answer to “Are you a sailor?” was the HE-ES-TERICAL “Ja think I’m a cowboy?” HA HA HA!

Yet he still became popular.

Anyway, the creator of Popeye was E.C. Segar and I’ll give you three guesses where he lived.Was it:
A- Sweet Haven? WRONG
B- Popeyeville, N.C.? WRONG
C- Chester, Illinois? OBVIOUSLY

So every year Chester hosts an annual Popeye picnic and celebration. While the 2010 events are still being keep under wraps, here are some highlights from the 2009 gala, which began on 9/11 in, I’m sure, some fit of patriotic fervor, because I am dead sure the entire town of Cheater (population 8,400) was also free the following weekend.

  • Goon Island Sand Sculpturing
  • Castor Oyl’s Carnival Rides
  • Popeye Film Festival
  • Popeye’s Parade
  • One Man Band
  • Poopdeck Pappy Presents: Magic & More
  • Smorgasbord
  • Swee Pea’s Petting Zoo
  • Horseshoe Tournament
  • Wimpy’s Wiener Dog Derby

As you can see, this is the Popeyepalooza! Nowhere else can you find such a concentration of small town sawdust, er, Popeye themed kiddie rides. C’mon, Weiner dogs, a smorgasbord, and a one man band? How come this thing isn’t as big as Ozz-fest? (Right, Weiner dogs, a smorgasbord, and a one man band. That’s why.)

Anyway, how can I pass up a chance to travel to the Popeye center of the world? I’d be silly not to go, especially as I already have travel plans for the summer of 2011, to travel to the other side of the state, Metropolis Illinois, for their annual Superman celebration, featuring a costume contest and a Lex Luthor look-alike contest!

Now if only some small town would celebrate The Herculoids I’d never leave Illinois!

I think the Olive on the left likes me!

9 Responses to “Popeye-Palooza!”

  1. TexasTrailerParkTrash July 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I love Popeye. My grandkids have a bunch of DVDs that we got for a buck each at Walmart with all the old (ancient, really) cartoons on them, many of them featuring Popeye. Have you ever noticed that in the early ones, Popeye doesn’t have any teeth? Just gums. In the later cartoons done in color he suddenly appears with teeth. Maybe Olive said something…


    • bmj2k July 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

      The cartoons leave me cold (except for the “cultured spinach” one.) I do, though, have the complete collection of the original comic strips and they are really fantastic


    • Thomas Stazyk July 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

      I remember watching those after school. I still remember the one where he gets frozen in cement–that really scared me!


  2. Thomas Stazyk July 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    No spinach eating contest?


    • bmj2k July 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

      No, and neither was there a Wimpy hamburger eating contest.


  3. TexasTrailerParkTrash July 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Is it just me, or does the Olive Oyl contestant on the right have a prosthetic forehead?


    • bmj2k July 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm #



      • Thomas Stazyk July 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

        Definitely Klingon. Should we warn the good people of Chester there are aliens in their midst?


  4. JRD Skinner July 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    I just want to mention that I’m expecting plenty of photos from this “Superman celebration”.


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