Chips and Splinters returning to festival

Chips and Splinters is coming back to Sweet Home.

The variety show, once a major part of the Frontier Days celebration, which later became Sportsman’s Holiday, is being resurrected this year by Wendy Smith and the Frontier Sportsman’s Holiday Court.

The Chips and Splinters performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 8, in the Sweet Home High School auditorium.

Smith, who is coordinator for the court, said she got the idea of reviving Chips and Splinters after reading about it in “Sweet Home’s Good Old Days,” a book by Mona Waibel on her memories of Sweet Home.

“I read Mona Waibel’s book and she had made mention of the original Chips and Splinters and as a young girl growing up here, I was a dancer and our dance groups danced in it,” Smith said.

She said that the original variety show “spotlighted” the court, as the queen was crowned during the event.

“The climax of the evening was always the queen’s coronation,” she said. “That started off the Sportsman’s Holiday Weekend.”

The Chips and Splinters show, according to Waibel, was founded in 1949 and by the 1950s had become a full-fledged three-night variety show put on by the Business and Professional Women organization that packed the Sweet Home High School auditorium and featured 21 acts. Those acts included the Giddy Grandpas and Giddy Grannies €“ groups of local (younger) citizens who sang and danced.

“They had all kinds of acts and they were hilarious,” Waibel recalled last week. “The comedy was good but it was never anything distasteful. It was appropriate for children.”

Performances varied from skits about old Sweet Home, when it was called Buckhead, to “a lot of musical acts,” she said.

“There were really a lot of good musicians around and a lot of people who danced. The dancing was quite incredible.

“All ages participated and that helped bring out the crowds, I think.”

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angela Culy said organizers are encouraging all comers to try out.

“We’re calling all talent,” she said. “If you’ve got an act, people should really be thinking ‘should I get my kazoo out now?'”

Tryouts for this year’s show will be June 15-16 at a location to be announced. Call-backs will be June 17.

Jan Hufford-Wilson of The Cedar Shack will serve as talent scout and production manager.

Culy said the show will bring back a positive element from the past that has been missing for years.

“One of the things I really want to push is that this is across the generations,” she said. “That’s what it’s about €“ grandmother remembering what they did when she was little and now watching her great-grandkids doing the same thing. It would be really great to resurrect something from the old days.”

Tickets to the July 8 show will be $3 with a can of food for Fair Share Gleaners or $5 without. Proceeds will go toward the Frontier Sportsman’s Holiday Court expenses.

For more information, contact Wendy Smith at (541) 974-0883 or by e-mail at [email protected].