Thursday, August 9, 2007
Kudzu fest on the move
This year’s Kudzu Festival is on a new date and at a new location, and here’s hoping it gains everyone’s support.
The annual Holly Springs event, sponsored by the chamber of commerce, makes the move to the downtown area on October 24-27.
Ronnie Luther, who is chairing the festival, visited the Holly Springs Rotary Club last week. The main goal is to draw folks to the downtown area and promote Holly Springs.
“We want to bring people downtown who will spend money and see Holly Springs,” Luther said.
Small town festivals, to me, just seem they should be downtown – in the heart of the city. And the best and most successful ones I’ve seen over the years are there – like the Railroad Festival in Amory, one of my all-time favorites.
The announcement of bringing the festival downtown comes at a time when the Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen are also seeking Mississippi Main Street designation for the city.
All of this creates excitement and momentum for historic Holly Springs.
The Kudzu Festival will kick off Wednesday, Oct. 24, with a carnival, with a less expensive day for school children to ride all the rides. The carnival, a “real good one,” according to Luther, will feature new and bigger rides. It will be in town, in the square area, all four days.
Thursday’s activities will include a gospel music festival.
Friday, the barbecue competition will kick off. Fourteen teams have already registered with a cutoff set at 30. It will be a Kansas City-sanctioned event. A country music band will be featured Friday night.
Saturday will be for the blues. The Salute to the Blues with local blues artists will run from 2 p.m. to midnight. Barbecue will be judged on Saturday.
Arts and crafts vendors will be a big part of the four-day festival.
More activities will be added in the next couple of months.
“Input is needed from local businesses,” Luther said. “We hope to get 5,000 people on the square.”
Luther knows his festivals well, and he knows how to give them a shot in the arm. He’s worked with other area towns like Oxford, Corinth, Ashland, Southaven and Hernando.
“Our Byhalia Clydesdale Festival was unbelievable this year,” he said. “We had cars backed up, and we raised five times more money.”
An estimated 10,000 people came through the gates.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Kudzu Festival will benefit the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, with a portion of that going specifically for a downtown project.
“The chamber needs the money, and we need everyone’s help,” Luther said. “It takes everyone in the community to make this successful.”
Mark the dates, October 24-27, on your calendar.
There’s at least two other annual festivals in Marshall County before that one, one in September and another in early October.
The Hummingbird Migration Celebration is September 7-9 at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, just off Highway 311 North in Holly Springs.
The hummingbird celebration has become a huge draw. And this year’s event will no doubt be better and bigger than ever.
The annual White Oak Festival in downtown Byhalia on Church Street is Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. until.
The White Oak Festival is sponsored by and benefits the Byhalia Sports Association.
The entry deadline for vendors is October 5. For more information on this big event, contact Janice Wagg at 662-838-2806.
It’s a great opportunity to support the BSA and its dedicated efforts to provide recreation for Byhalia area children.
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