SPARTA FESTIVALS was incorporated on February 14th, 1984. It was formed for the purpose to raise funds and conduct fundraising projects for the advancement of the general welfare of the City of Sparta.
In 1982-83, Mayor Thomas Gomez wanted something done for Sparta's Bi-Centennial celebration. A group of local citizens got together and created a small festival for that year. After it was over, the group decided that Sparta needed some type of festival held annually. The group expanded and worked on creating a legal Incorporation with the State and wrote By-laws for SPARTA FESTIVALS INC.
When the annual festival was created, it was on a very small scale. There were no funds and the City of Sparta pledged $3,000 for the first year event. The next two years the festival group borrowed $1,500 from local banks.
In 1984 the festival was called Sparta Fest Days. In 1985 it was changed to Sparta Butter Festival as Sparta was well known for it's State Award Winning Butter Makers who worked at the local milk plant. A few years later it was changed to Sparta Butter Celebration and in 1992 it was changed to Sparta Butterfest.
In 1985, the first Miss Sparta Scholarship Pageant was established and Michelle Karbula was crowned the first Miss Sparta. Initally, for the first few years, the Miss Sparta Pageant was part of the Miss America Pageant family. In the early 90's, the Miss Sparta Pageant was taken over by the SPARTA FESTIVALS committee and all scholarship money each year is funded by Sparta Butterfest. This allowed all contestants to win some level of scholarship money. A few years ago the Pageant family was expanded by creating a Little Miss Sparta and Junior Miss Sparta Pageant.
Also, in 1985, the Sparta Butterfest Festmasters program was created and Jim Creviston was named the first Festmaster. Jim's choice was based on that he was a State Award-Winning Butter Maker at Sparta's local milk plant. In 1992, the first Sparta Butterfest Festmaster's Reception was held with a dinner and dance. This annual event is when the new Sparta Butterfest Festmaster is introduced.
In 1999, Sparta Butterfest named a Parade Marshal. The Sunday Sparta Butterfest Parade draws thousands of people and is the most celebrated event of the 3-day Butterfest celebration. The first Parade Marshall was Kay Johnson. Kay coordinated the parade for many years and with her expertise, the Sparta Butterfest Parade quickly became one of the best and most popular parades in the area. Over 150 entries participate in the parade each year.
In 2005, the Sparta Butterfest Royal Family expanded again with the creation of the Lady Butterfest program. Lady Butterfest is co-sponsored by the Sparta Festivals Committee and the Miss Sparta Pageant Committee. This honor goes to a female from Sparta who has made an indelible mark on the City with her volunteer and career work. Joan Cook was named the very first Lady Butterfest.
At this time, Sparta Festivals Inc. has a $100,000 budget annually to put on Sparta Butterfest. The revenue collected during the 3-day event goes back into the community in a variety of donations. Over $380,000 has been given back to the community over the years from Sparta Butterfest. Over the years, projects we've donated to include a new Boy & Girls Club, a new Community Center, a new building at Evans-Bosshard Park, Badger State Boys & Girls programs, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare Foundation, upgrades in electrical boxes in Memorial Park, Boy Scouts program, School programs and thousands of dollars given to area civic organizations' projects.
Sparta Festivals Inc. meets every 3rd Tuesday of the month, except in June and December and people are encouraged to join the organization. For more information, just fill out the "Contact Us" on our web site.
Sparta Butterfest takes place the 2nd weekend of June each year. Come One, Come All and Experience Hometown Hospitality and Just Plain Family Fun!