Ole Brook Fest kicks off Friday

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ole Brook vendors begin rolling in Thursday evening and the fun finally cranks up Friday night.

     The 38th annual Ole Brook Festival opens this Friday, and event organizers say there’s a strong festival planned for the crowds Brookhaven will attract this weekend.

     “We’re very pleased with the quality of the vendors,” said local chamber of commerce director Cliff Brumfield. “The weather looks strong.”

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     Vendors and booths will be open for business Friday evening. Saturday’s highlights include a Saturday morning talent showcase and the Saturday evening concert by Francesca Battistelli, along with Sidewalk Prophets, Andy Cherry and City Harbor.

     The concert headliner, Batistelli, has generated quite a bit of buzz around the festival. A Christian artist, Battistelli has won numerous Dove Awards, including the prestigious “Artist of the Year” designation.

     “I expect it to be one of our larger concert crowds,” Brumfield said.

     Brumfield said he’s fielded calls from across the region about the concert.

     “A lot of people are surprised it’s actually free,” Brumfield said.

     The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and goes until approximately 8:30 p.m.

     Vendors are traveling from across the region, including north Mississippi, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Alabama and Baton Rouge.

     Brumfield said despite competition from other regional festivals, Ole Brook continues to prove very attractive to vendors.

     Brumfield said the total vendor count is not quite as strong as it was last year, but he chalks that up to last year’s state and county elections that packed in politicians at the festival while campaigning for office.

     The festival will feature a children’s area with a “kiddie train” and inflatable jumps.

     The final push for the festival begins Thursday. Downtown parking lots between Railroad Avenue and Whitworth Avenue will close Thursday at 5 p.m. and Brumfield expects food vendors to begin arriving and setting up Thursday evening.

     The parking lots will remain closed through Sunday morning.