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37th Ole Brook Festival scheduled for Oct. 7-8

In the relentless heat and humidity thathas plagued the South this summer, local residents can mentallybeat the heat with at least one thought in mind: the 37th Ole BrookFestival is slated for Oct. 7-8 this fall on the streets ofdowntown Brookhaven.

    Organizers have welcomed back the idea of a concert-based festivalto go along with the marketplace and food vendors that will lineRailroad and Whitworth avenues.

    Contemporary Christian band Big Daddy Weave will headline theconcert Saturday night while Christian solo artist Kerrie Robertswill open the show.

    “We’re going back to a Christian theme this year,” said Kay Burton,Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce program director. “Wehad kids’ themes for a while, and we’ve had a lot of feedbackthat’s persuaded us to go back to a concert-based festival. We justlike to change it up sometimes.”

    The festival will also feature a new showcase this year.Mississippi School of the Arts students will have the stageSaturday morning instead of the Mid-South talent competition thathas taken place in the past.

    “This won’t be a competition,” Burton said. “It’s just a talentshow. We wanted to offer a chance for local talent to behighlighted this year, so the MSA students will have the main stagethat morning.”

    A new addition this year as well will be a “toddler jump zone” tobetter accommodate the needs of younger children. Burton said it isanother effort to meet the needs of everyone and make the festivaleven more of an event for all by having activities accessible tochildren of all ages.

    Burton said the usual attractions such as the rock wall and thebungie jump will be back as well.

    She and chamber Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield hope theevent will be as successful this year as in the past.

    “It grows from year to year,” Brumfield said. “Each year we saythis one is going to be our biggest and best yet, and each year hasbeen just that. We’re hoping to set records in quality vendors andattendance this year.”

    Burton recalled the festival a few years back that welcomed rain aswell as plenty of people.

    “You looked out across the area and all you saw was a sea ofumbrellas,” she said. “I think that really says a lot about whatthe festival has to offer the public and how much they enjoyit.”

    Burton said the vendor list has not been finalized, but severalhave been in contact and are eager for festival time to come.Vendors can pick up applications for food sales, not-for-profitfood sales and marketplace spaces at the chamber.

    The chamber is working to be more selective of the food vendors sothat there are not several offering the same kinds of foods. Thiswill make room for more of a variety of foods for people to eat,according to Burton.

    The marketplace will have its usual vendors of art and handmadeproducts among other items.

    “We’ll have over 200 vendors by the end of registration,” Burtonsaid. “We were worried last year we were going to run out ofspace.”

    On Friday, vendors who haven’t already set up will do so from 5:30p.m. to 9 p.m. According to Burton, many will set up as early asthe night before so people can come out Friday night to enjoy theatmosphere from 6 p.m. until.

    Saturday, the Ole Brook Marketplace will open at 8 a.m., and theMSA talent show will commence on the main stage from 9 a.m. to noonwith the festival open all day for people to enjoy shopping andfood. Then at 6:30 p.m. Big Daddy Weave will play with Robertsopening the show.

    “We hope people come out to have fun, support the vendors and findsomething they can’t leave without,” Burton said.

    Brumfield also urged people to look forward to the fall festival asthe summer heat remains steady.

    “Mark down Oct. 7 and 8 on your calendars,” he said. “Be here inbeautiful downtown Brookhaven to enjoy the festival.”