The Ostrich Festival

When a friend asks if you want to go to the Ostrich Festival, the answer is always yes. A resounding yes!

So off went Susan, a floormate from freshman year of college, her two kids, and me. Chandler AZ–look out! We’re here to have some fun!

Rides that prove your age by how nauseous they make you, food that proves your age by how nauseous it makes you, and sideshows. Ahhhh, sideshows. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….

Animals Were Meant to Race?

I consciously quelled concerns about what these poor creatures endure in order to race for human enjoyment. And frankly, it was quite enjoyable. Mostly because emus, donkeys, and ostriches don’t want to go in a straight line, nor do they want to have humans on their backs, so there’s bobbing-and-weaving, falling-and-clamboring. And watching a man fall off the back of an ostrich is truly a site to behold! Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

Trick Cowboy, Show Me Whatcha Got!

Well, aside from a substantial belt buckle, this man has skills! He even has the sequin-adorned gun holster to prove it: he’s a champion pistol twirler (or some such thing), and his assistant is the 2012 world champion knife thrower. Shazzam. Now, do you think the festival circuit is what world champion knife throwers dream of? Maybe….?

Lassos and rope tricks, cracking the whip (it breaks the sound barrier, that’s why it “cracks”) to cut down a piece of plastic held in a woman’s mouth, gun twirls, bits with a horse (pun), and knife throwing while she’s strapped onto a board and spinning, then he tosses water balloons and upside and rotating she shoots both of them.  I mean really!

This was exactly what I hoped it would be! Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

A Freakshow, but not THAT kind of Freakshow

No bearded ladies or people with genetics that insensitive people find funny. Nope–this was men wearing eyeliner and a woman doing unconscionable forms of acrobatics. And a lot of  things that look unduly painful. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

Why Ostriches?

No clue. There’s an Ostrich Farm an hour down the road, so maybe that has something to do with it? Let’s not fret the details and just enjoy.


Ostrich facts:

  • They have two toes, vs all other birds who have three or four. 
  • An ostrich will live to 50-75 years old!
  • An ostrich egg weighs the same as two dozen chicken eggs.
  • The egg hatches in 42 days.
  • The chick grows one foot per month until it’s 7-8 months old
  • Co-parenting: mom sits on the egg during the day, dad at night
  • There are 2 million ostriches worldwide.

Contrary to belief, they do not bury their heads in the sand. Let’s look to Wikipedia for insight into why we think that they do.

This myth likely began with Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79), who wrote that ostriches “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.” This may have been a misunderstanding of their sticking their heads in the sand to swallow sand and pebbles, or, as National Geographic suggests, of the defensive behavior of lying low, so that they may appear from a distance to have their head buried.


What’s the best festival sideshow you’ve seen?

5 Responses


What a hoot! After being in AZ for many years, I had never been to such an event. It was good old fashioned fun for the entire family. Rides, food and shows for all. Honestly, I could have spent another four hours if I was not so tired. So, glad that you got to experience this day in AZ, and we hope you come back next year. Who knows what addition they may add to the show? Can anyone say talking ostrich?


It’s a show I haven’t seen yet, but it’s on my bucket list: Redneck Olympics in Dublin, Georgia. Backward reels the mind.


Glad to get your blog! Had not heard from you in what seemed like a while and saw Michael last weekend, mentioned it to him and he said you were taking a little break! Sounds like you are still having a ball and we are so glad! Pesach is coming up and it won’t be the same without you!

hugs to you!

Harriet and Bo

I remember some years back when ostrich was being considered haute cuisine and restaurants that considered themselves “all that” had ostrich on their menus. Now I hardly ever see it. Does the Arizona ostrich farm exist to provide ostrich meat—other than the few they provide for races?
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, A Nature Preserve and Sancutary at Onomea Bay, Big Island of HawaiiMy Profile


I want to see an ostrich run on a race someday. It’s amazing how they can live up to 75 years as you mentioned here. Cool.
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