FireAnt Festival
Marshall, Texas

When: mid-October

Where: Activities take place on W. Austin, Wellington and W. Rusk Streets in Marshall, Texas.

Since 1982, the residents of Marshall have adopted an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude toward Texas' most prevalent pests with a two-day ode to the fire ant, held each second weekend of October.

Events: Students of Marshall Senior High School, the alma mater of the nation's 36th First Lady, "Ladybird" Johnson, don red and white uniforms for a parade through the town's streets. The brass of the band member's trumpets and trombones sparkle in the morning sun just like the chrome on the firetrucks that slowly drive past the kids in the crowd who wave at the firemen and the parade's costumed mascot, the fire ant.

Aspiring Lance Armstrongs display their pedal prowess in the Tour de Fire Ant, 100K, 10 mile, 30 mile and 45 mile bike rides. While the less-althletically-inclined stick to a trek through Marshall's streets in the 10-mile race, serious cyclists choose to tackle challenging rolling hills in the 45-mile bike tour.

Lace up your sneakers and get ready to pound the pavement during Six Feet on the Street, a 5K run. Aching joints at the end of the race may come in handy if make the most gruesome grimace at the ugly face-making contest. If 42's your game, join the dueling domino players for a high-spirited tournament, or sign up for the silliness that ensures at the annual rubber chicken throwing contest.

Savor the flavor of true Texas cuisine as participants prepare concoctions as hot as a fire ant's sting in the chili cook-off. Ten prizes will be awarded in the chili category, while three awards are presented to the best beans served at the event.

Children's Activities: Tiny tots can climb aboard a mini-choo choo that chugs along tracks set up in the festival area, while energetic imps can hop around on a bouncy house or slip along on an inflatable slide.

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