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Thousands enjoy Ole Brook Fest

Brookhaven celebrated what one festival official called a successful 38th annual Ole Brook Festival Friday and Saturday.

     Festival Chairman Cliff Brumfield said there were more than 135 vendor booths and many smiles all around.

     “Overall, we’re very happy with it,” he said late Saturday afternoon. “In the eight years I’ve worked with it, I’d say this year’s has been the best so far.

     “We got off to a cooler morning than expected on Saturday, and the crowd grew tremendously by around noon,” he continued. “People came and shopped and were very friendly and happy.”

     Brumfield said Friday brought around 1,200 people into downtown.

     “It was one of the bigger Friday nights in memory,” he said. “There were a good number of vendors out. Our food vendors reported having a very good Friday night, with some saying it was better than they expected.”

     Overall, the two-day festival gave people from near and far an opportunity to check out Brookhaven and do some shopping.

     “It was good for those who came from out of town; they had a great time,” said Brumfield. “The food court and vendors were great. We appreciate all who came down to downtown Brookhaven to visit and take advantage of the festival.”

     Brumfield said the number of booths was down this year from last, as 2011 saw statewide and local political races that brought in people campaigning for candidates.

     “More locals participated this year,” said Brumfield. “The quality of the vendors was probably better than it was last year.”

     Vendor Nancy Tanner of Union Church spent Friday and Saturday selling handmade wind chimes crafted of cola cans and seashells.

     “I think it’s been a nice crowd and great weather,” she said.

     Johnny Turner, of Doll’s House, offered tickets for the group’s car drawing out of the organization’s booth. He used the opportunity to increase awareness about Doll’s House.

     “The community is really involved and excited about Doll’s House,” he said about the group’s efforts to open a transitional home for women. “This has been a very nice. It’s good to see the community out and involved.”

     The only problem Brumfield mentioned was a transformer blowing at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Cherokee Street early Saturday afternoon, but Brumfield said it did not have much of an impact on the festival.

     “Entergy was right on the spot to fix it within 30 minutes,” he said. “We were able to reroute to alternative energy sources, so things were not affected.”

     Saturday morning’s talent show on the main stage featured a performance from the Mississippi School of the Arts that Brumfield described as one of the highlights of the morning.

     “It was nice to be able to showcase the talent,” he said.

     Brumfield said he hopes the successes of this year’s Ole Brook Festival will spill into next year’s event.

     “I think this year’s festival will be a springboard for us to move forward next year,” he said. “Aside from the electrical issues it was probably one of the smoothest festivals on record. We had a great amount of help from volunteers and cleanup crews to keep garbage issues at a minimum.”