Festival planning gears up

Published 12:43 pm Sunday, September 15, 2013

The 39th annual Ole Brook Festival may still be a couple of weeks away, but plans are rapidly gearing up for the event coming up the first weekend in October.

The festival planning committee met Thursday at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce to finalize details for this year’s fest, which will feature more than 200 craft, food and entertainment vendors, plus a classic car show, all set up in historic downtown Brookhaven.

The head of the committee, chamber marketing director Kay Burton, said there are a few new attractions planned this year – Extreme Games, which includes a zip line that will fly riders from one end of the festival to the other, a four-station bungee jump and a batting cage.

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Burton also announced that the classic car show is returning after several years.

“I think the car show will add a lot of fun,” she said, “and, there’s lots of added games this year, like the zip-line. I think people are really going to have fun with that.”

Planning committee members Becky Morgan, Marty Stroud, Kenny Goza, Kayla Martin, Hampton Sims and Chandra Nunnery discussed the details of street closings, stage construction for the musical and dance entertainment, porta-potty set-ups and security, plus recruiting a few more volunteers.

The festival will take up two blocks downtown with dozens of arts and crafts booths running along South Whitworth Avenue, from Chickasaw Street to Monticello Street, and lots of family entertainment and food vendors along Railroad Avenue.

Beginning Thursday night, the two parking lots between Whitworth and Railroad will be closed to begin staging the venue for a food court, dining tent and preparations for vendors that will begin arriving Friday evening.

Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. food vendors will already be in business for the vendor preview and an early chance to go shopping down the vendor aisles.

Burton and the team said they are installing a large, centrally located map of the festival so people can conveniently find the attractions they are interested in visiting. The map will list the itinerary for entertainment, the breast cancer benefit and the Mississippi Girls for a Cure Color 5K Walk/Run that begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Those who want to join the 5K walk can register at 7 a.m. Saturday, or they can register ahead of time with organizers Margarette Roberson, (601) 695-3392, or Olivia Wallace at (601)754-9991. Runners will have two watering booths along the route. The entry fee is $25 and goes to fund research for the cure of breast cancer.

Returning this year are the giant inflatable slides, trampolines and obstacle course. Burton said there will be separate jumpers for smaller kids in the Kids Toddler Zone. There will also be a kiddie-train making the rounds of the festival.

The mechanical bull will be back, plus a sound stage nearby where several acts are scheduled to play and dance beginning Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with Dixieland Cloggers, then Studio Brookhaven, Mississippi School of Arts Dance Co., country girl duet HanaLena, the MSA Musical Theatre Talent Showcase, MSA gospel group Total Praize and the a cappella gospel group Soul Fire.

At 2 p.m. the classic car show will have an awards ceremony and announce five best of show award winners.

Brookhaven Police Department is helping out with security details as well as the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Burton said.

“The sheriff is going to provide barricades and some in the department have volunteered to help with stage construction and deconstruction,” she said.

Railroad and Whitworth avenues will be closed between Monticello and Chickasaw from 5:30 p.m. Friday to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The group is still looking for volunteers, as there will be plenty of jobs to go around that will require extra hands. Burton added that there is still time for more sponsors to get their name and logo on banners for the fest, too.

To become a volunteer or sponsor contact Burton at the chamber of commerce at 230 S. Whitworth Ave. or call (601) 833-1411, or 1-800-613-4667.