Thousands enjoy family fun at 27th Ole Brook Festival

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Downtown Brookhaven streets were packed Friday and Saturday asthousands of people came out to enjoy quality family entertainmentand to browse or shop at vendor booths during the 27th Annual OleBrook Festival.

“To say it was a success would be an understatement,” saidChandler Russ, executive vice-president of the Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce.

Friday’s festival highlight was a concert by Christian artistsNewsong, Anointed, Natalie Grant and Soul Focus. The concert helpedset a great tone for the festival as over 5,000 people packed theNorth Railroad Avenue parking lot with lawn chairs and filledbleachers to hear the artists’ music with a message.

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“The other attractions we had were really successful as well,”Russ said, mentioning a clown, a professional story-teller,magician and caricature artist who were on hand for the event. “Thefestival had a wonderful feel, and the weather was beautiful.”

Russ estimated the festival attracted over 10,000 people duringthe two days.

“There was never a time when we didn’t have a solid flow ofpeople through there,” Russ said.

Festival Chairman John Chance indicated the festival was asuccess for the many vendors as well. He said a majority had signedup again for next year.

Also, having commercial food vendors for the first time thisyear was really important in being able to feed the large crowd.Chance said four chicken-on-a-stick vendors had sold out before 1p.m. Saturday.

“As the festival increases, we’ll have to enlarge the number ofvendors to meet the needs of the crowd,” Chance said.

With the concert’s reception and other events, Russ said thegoal will be to continue to enhance the festival theme for nextyear. Chance added he hoped to be able to attract more activitiesthat can tie into the arts school.

“It’s unbelievable support from Brookhaven that allows us to puton an entirely free event like this,” Chance said.

He and Russ thanked Bank of Brookhaven as the main sponsor andothers who were contributing sponsors.

They expressed appreciation to the many festival volunteers andassistance received from the city personnel. They had a specialthanks for Kenny Goza and Easthaven Baptist Church, which providedmeals for Friday night’s entertainment, stage crews andvolunteers.

Russ also thanked downtown merchants for the opportunity tobring so many people to the merchants’ front doors during thefestival.

“It truly lived up to its billing as Mississippi’s premierfamily festival,” Russ sad.