Organizers prepare for Ole Brook Festival

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce officials areplanning a few new twists as they prepare for another fun-filledOle Brook Festival this year.

The festival is scheduled for Sept. 28-29 in downtown alongSouth Whitworth Avenue and West Cherokee Street. Now in its 27thyear, the festival returned to downtown last year and organizersare looking for bigger crowds this year.

“We had a great response because of it being in downtown lastyear,” said John Chance, Ole Brook Festival chairman.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In an effort to capitalize on the opening of the MississippiSchool of the Arts in few years, Chance and Chandler Russ, chamberof commerce executive vice-president, said there will be adifferent focus this year.

“We’re trying to change and want to be an arts festival and morefamily-oriented,” Chance said.

The festival will be Friday from noon until 11 p.m. and Saturdayfrom 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’re starting a little earlier this year so everybody can setup instead of waiting until 5 p.m. to come in,” Chance said.

Chance said Mississippi artisans will be interacting with adultsand children throughout the festival. Planned entertainmentincludes a blues singer, a professional story teller, a mime,balloon sculptures, a potter and painter.

The festival will also feature an expanded children’s area. KidsZone activities include face paintings, a moonwalk andcarnival-type games, Chance said.

“We’re trying to make the festival exciting and appealing forkids as well as parents,” Russ said.

Friday night’s concert entertainment will have a littledifferent sound from years past. The groups Newsong and Anointed,along with singer Natalie Grant, will be the featured entertainmentin Railroad Park.

“Instead of doing a segue from gospel singing to a blues-dancegroup, we’re bringing in three contemporary Christian acts,” Chancesaid. “We’re expecting a big response from that.”

For classic car enthusiasts, Chance said the annual automobileshow has been expanded.

Russ was expecting a smooth transition from festivals of thepast to a more arts and cultural focus.

“We want to be family-friendly,” Russ said. “The events we’veplanned are appealing to young and old alike.”

As in years past, the festival will feature a large variety ofvendors booths with many interesting items for sale. Vendor spacereservation letters were sent out recently and Chance said there’sbeen a good response so far.

For the first time, the 2001 festival will feature commercialfood booths.

“We’re trying that this year and we’re limiting it to 10,”Chance said.

Also in the area of food, organizers have eliminated the Pork,Beef and Chicken Cookoff. Chance said cost factors and decliningparticipation were reasons the cookoff is not returning.

Chance said plans are to have the festival tailored to theinterests of Brookhaven and Lincoln County citizens.

“We’re trying to pick a niche as far as what we want thefestival to be and grow on that every year,” Chance said.