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Ole Brook Festival expecting huge crowds this year

The 44th annual Ole Brook Festival kicks off Friday night with a free community concert by Brookhaven native Sam Mooney.

The concert will open at 6 p.m. with musicians from the Rock Academy followed by Mooney and his band from 7 to 9 p.m. The stage will be set up at the corner of East Cherokee Street and North Railroad Avenue between State Bank & Trust and Brookhaven Ear Nose & Throat.

Special guests at the concert are area Pink Sisters and all cancer survivors, said Katie Nations with the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the show. Food vendors will be set up in the downtown area beginning Friday afternoon around lunchtime, she said.

Whitworth and Railroad avenues between East Chickasaw and East Monticello streets will be closed at 5 p.m. and will not reopen until 4 p.m. Saturday.

Cherokee Street between Railroad Avenue and South Jackson Street will be closed at those times as well.

Nations said the festival is full again this year with 175 vendors from all over the Southeast participating.

The festival starts Saturday at 8 a.m. with the MS Girls4ACure 5K and 10K.

An antique car show begins at 10 a.m. and live music and entertainment will continue on the main stage all day.

A kids’ zone will open at 9 a.m. with inflatable activities for youngsters. Armbands are $10.

Nations said many longtime vendors are returning as well as a few new ones hitting the streets of Brookhaven for the first time. New this year is a fashion truck, like a mobile boutique, that will be parked near Trustmark National Bank, and a video gaming station.

The Brookhaven Animal Rescue League will have dogs available for petting and adoption and Lincoln County Master Gardeners will be selling a variety of plants.

Nations estimated last year’s festival brought in 10,000 to 12,000 people to the downtown area.

The Chamber couldn’t put on the festival without a lot of help, she said.

“We appreciate all of our vendors who participate each year and all of our sponsors and a host of volunteers that make the festival such a success each year,” she said.

Weather is expected to be in the high 60s Friday night and a high in the low 80s Saturday.

“The weather looks great right now but I’m trying not to jinx it,” she said. “As far as the forecast goes, if we don’t have any type of tropical storm it’s looking like it should be good weather.”