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Ole Brook plans coming together, organizers of annual event say

The Ole Brook Festival is less than a month away, andBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce officials saypreparations for the 30th annual event are well under way.

“We’re working hard and we want our community to support it,”said Kenny Goza, chamber president.

This year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept.24-25, in downtown. Friday’s events are from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.and Saturday’s from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Organizers are expecting more than 200 vendors selling a varietyof items. Approximately 80 booth spaces have already been reserved,said Kay Burton, the chamber’s program director.

“Our entire commercial foods area is full,” Burton said.

A new area this year will be Art Alley at the corner of CherokeeStreet and South Whitworth Avenue. Burton said artisans’ booths arebeing designated for that area near Trustmark National Bank.

In conjunction with the festival, an art contest will be heldduring the day, followed by a reception for the winners in thebank’s lobby. Categories include oil and acrylic, water color,photography, glass, pottery and ceramic, sculptures, fabrics andfiber and wood.

Sandra Martin, who is overseeing the contest, said a $100 prizewill be awarded in each of the nine categories provided there areat least three entries in a category. A prize will not be awardedif there are not three entries.

“We really need some participation by local artists so we cankick it off and help it grow,” Martin said.

The kids’ zone will have some fun activities to keep childrenoccupied. Among them will be a rock-climbing wall, which has been apopular attraction in past festival and an activities tent.

A garden extravaganza and farmers market also will be part offestival activities.

The festival is a sanctioned preliminary event for the Mid-SouthFair Youth Talent Contest, with the local winner going on tocompete in Memphis.

Instead of having all musical categories in Saturday, thecontest has been spread over both days of the festival.Christian/gospel and country music will be on Friday and Pop andBroadway/classical music on Saturday

“We had to expand it so we could have some more flexibility,”Burton said.

In other musical entertainment, the Christian music group NewSong returns to the festival for a free concert on Saturday night.Joining New Song this year will be fellow Christian artists TaylorSorrenson and Anthony Evans.

Anyone needing more information about the festival may contactthe chamber at 833-1411 or visit the chamber’s Web site atwww.BrookhavenChamber.com/olebrook.