Organizers planing for 29th Ole Brook Festival

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 25, 2003

The sights and sounds of the Ole Brook Festival return todowntown in a little over a month and organizers are busy preparingfor another outstanding event.

“We’re trying to get bigger and better,” said Kenny Goza, one ofa many volunteers helping Festival Chairman John Chance prepare forthe event.

Billed as Mississippi’s Premier Family Festival, the 29th AnnualOle Brook Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept.26-27, in downtown Brookhaven. Organizers are adding some newevents to the traditional attractions.

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“It’s going to be an expanded event in a lot of ways,” Gozasaid.

Among the new events this year will be a garden extravaganza andthe Million Dollar Duck Derby. The annual derby, to benefit theKing’s Daughters Foundation, features the chance of someone winning$1 million.

Kay Burton, program director for the Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce, and Jennifer Jackson said the talentcompetition has been enlarged this year. The festival is apreliminary for the Mid-South Fair Youth Talent Contest, one of thelargest youth talent competitions in the country.

“The talent competition is much bigger this year,” Jacksonsaid.

Burton said the Saturday show will feature junior and seniordivisions broken down into four music categories: gospel/Christian,country, pop and classical/Broadway. The overall winner, who willbe invited to the Mid-South show in September 2004, will be chosenfrom among the first place winners in the categories.

Musical entertainment on Friday will include a gospel musicfestival and Show Stoppers, a group of talented youth from aroundthe state. Also on Saturday will be a talent stage featuring localentertainers.

Goza said over 150 vendor booths are expected this year. Theywill have arts, crafts, antiques and other items for sale.

The event concludes Saturday night with a free Christian concertfeaturing past festival favorite New Song with special guest ClayCrosse, as well as other Christian artists.

While the festival has a great lineup of musical talent, Gozasaid organizers hope to add more visual arts in the future.

“We’re trying to attract more artisans,” said Goza, mentioningthat the festival hopes to capitalize on Brookhaven’s connectionsto the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Goza said the festival is a community event with something foreveryone.

“We hope to grow more and more in the future,” Goza said. “Ourgoal is to create a family festival.”