Ole Brook Festival another success

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 29, 2003

Thousands of visitors came out Friday and Saturday to enjoy afun-filled weekend during the 29th Annual Ole Brook Festival.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, estimated over10,000 people had attended the event. Another 3,000-5,000 wereexpected for a Saturday night concert featuring Christian artistClay Crosse and Newsong.

“It was a larger crowd on Saturday, but it was strong and steadyboth days,” Russ said.

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For some, such as instructors and students at the MississippiSchool of the Arts, this year was their first time to attend. KenBolinksy, the school’s theater instructor, said it appearedeveryone was having a good time.

“As a newcomer to town, this is the kind of thing that you don’twant to miss,” said Bolinsky, who came to Brookhaven fromAtlanta.

Organizers applauded the variety of activities during thefestival, which was sponsored by Bank of Brookhaven.

Activities included a Friday gospel singing, a gardenextravaganza and a youth talent show, which Russ said waswell-attended and well-received. The $1 million Duck Derby alsodrew a big crowd Saturday night.

“I think everything went real smooth,” Russ said. “We had a lotof volunteer help.”

One festival disappointment was the inability to get a hot airballoon race off the ground. Bert Carolla, race organizer, saidSaturday morning weather included a level four thunderstorm nearHazlehurst and fog in the Brookhaven area.

“You don’t usually get those two together,” said Carolla, addingthat high winds Saturday afternoon prevented flying then.

With over 180 vendors, Russ said that total was about the sameas last year.

“We had several not show up,” Russ said. “That happens everyyear.”

Russ said hotter than usual weather probably helped drink salesthis year.

“But I really don’t think it kept any of the crowd away,” hesaid about the weather.

Russ credited outstanding volunteer help with making thefestival another success. He said over 50 volunteers helped in someway with the event.

“That just makes everything run a lot smoother,” Russ said.