Sounds Of Success

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thousands gathered on the streets ofWhitworth and Railroad avenues this weekend to enjoy the manydelights of Brookhaven’s Ole Brook Festival.

    Food vendors filled the air with grill smoke, deep fryers andsimple sweetness, which somehow all seem to intermingle into thatmost enticing smell that will make the fullest stomach growl formore.

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    Kids laughed and screamed with excitement as they enjoyed moonjumps, space jumps, bungie jumps and other attractions such as therock wall, the trackless train and the mechanical bull.

    On the other side of the tracks, sundry street vendors attractedpeople who could find almost anything they had an eye for: airbrushT-shirts and tattoos, puppies for adoption, hand-crafted benchswings, caricature drawings, remote control airplanes andhelicopters, purses, jewelry, even a build-your-own stuffed teddybear booth.

    “We’ve had a great weekend so far,” Kenny Goza, volunteer for theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said early Saturdayafternoon. “Even last night with Friday night football going on inthe area, we had a good crowd turn out.

    “At least 7,000-8,000 people so far I would guess,” he continued.”But it’s hard to tell with these things. People come and go andcome back to enjoy more. It’s a great atmosphere out here.”

    Chamber Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield agreed and wasparticularly pleased with Friday night’s crowd.

    “Friday hasn’t been as good in the past as it was last night. Thevendors did well,” he said. “Overall, the festival has gone onwithout a hitch so far and it has been a very successfulweekend.”

    Many local politicians took the opportunity to do some politickingin the waning weeks of the campaign season before general electionsnext month, handing out balloons, flyers and stickers.

    Jacositi Banks and Jacqueline Braxton, Brookhaven natives, came outto enjoy all the festival had to offer.

    “It’s been real great. I came out last night, too,” said Braxton.”It seemed like there was pretty good crowd last night, and theweather was nice.”

    Both said the shady areas were the place to be during the daySaturday, but both agreed that moving the festival from Septemberto October was a good move on the organizers’ part.

    “Oh, it’s a little warm but not as hot as it has been before,”Banks said. “I definitely like it better being in October than inSeptember.”

    Most vendors reported good numbers during the day Saturday.

    Bonnie Lee Smith, from Petal, operated a caricature booth and saidshe steadily had a small group of people around and interested inher drawings.

    “You never really know how it’s going to be week to week,” Smithsaid. “But it’s been good here in Brookhaven, and it’s reallypicked up for me today.”

    By six o’clock Saturday evening, merchant vendors were loading uptheir trucks and trailers as the crowds congregated on the foodside of the tracks for supper and a free concert by Big DaddyWeave.

    “It has been really successful this year,” Brumfield said. “Wethank all the volunteer help we’ve had and hope everyone gets homesafely and comes back again next year.”