Thursday, October 25, 2007
Kudzu Fest arrives
By SUE WATSON
The Kudzu Festival rolls into downtown Holly Springs this week. Opening ceremonies are set for Thursday at 5 p.m.
“We’re going to have a good festival,” said organizer Ronnie Luther. “We’re excited about being back downtown. This event is for the entire community.
“Our goal is to bring activity downtown and to bring people together. It takes everybody to make this work. Come out and enjoy it.”
The event sponsor is the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce.
The Kudzu Festival, which runs through Saturday, will feature carnival rides, arts and crafts, and a special events stage for gospel music, country music and the blues. A Kansas City sanctioned barbecue cook-off will also be part of this year’s festival.
Some streets downtown will be blocked off for the evenings and certain streets will be closed to make the area safe for pedestrians and drivers alike, according to police chief Robert Pearson. Some parking and traffic lanes around the courthouse will be fenced off during the festival..
Traffic will be two-way on Memphis Street and Van Dorn but one-way on Market Street and East College Avenue. College Avenue will be closed after 5 p.m. each day of the festival.
The inside lane around the courthouse will be blocked all week.
Mesh fencing will be used to surround the carnival and arts and crafts area at the courthouse to make sure children do not run out into traffic. A second area will be cordoned off for barbecue teams and a sound stage in the area of Falconer and to the south of New York Fashions.
Ticket gates will be set up at the entry to the carnival area and to the musical entertainment area.
Parking will not be available inside the festival area so visitors must park around the area on available streets and walk.
The festival officially opens Thursday with the carnival. The Gospel Jamboree sing-off begins at 6 p.m. inside the special events area. The Brown Singers of Memphis are set to perform, along with local gospel singing groups who will compete for trophies. Groups are encouraged to attend and support your favorite local gospel groups.
Teams gather Friday to set up camp and get the pork over the coals. Judging begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. Pat Sullivan’s country music band is featured on the Budweiser stage at 6 p.m. Friday night, Oct. 26.
Saturday, Oct. 27, is the big day with the carnival and arts and crafts area opening at 9 a.m. A 5K Kudzu Run also begins at 9 a.m. (Call 662-252-1862 to register or go online and register at www.americanpac.com.
An afternoon and evening of Hill Country Blues begins at 2 p.m. with Gary Burnside and Burnside Exploration taking the stage for two hours. At 4 p.m., Ralph Waller and the Tough Street Band begin a two-hour performance. The Kenny Brown Band takes over at 6 p.m.
The blues heats up at 8 p.m. with David Kimbrough Jr. and his band and the festival is put to bed with Duwayne Burnside and The Mississippi Mafia beginning at 10 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs to all events. No coolers are allowed inside the event areas. Visitors are asked to patronize vendors who have rented space from the Kudzu Committee.
Admission to the carnival and arts and crafts area is $3 for adults, $2 for children 12 to 17 years of age. Children under 12 are admitted free to the carnival area. Armbands for carnival rides and admission will be sold Thursday and Saturday nights for $12. No armbands for the carnival will be sold Friday night.
Admission for musical entertainment is $8 for Friday night and $8 for Saturday night. Those nights, Budweiser beer will be sold in containers in the special events area. Alcohol can be purchased only with the presentation of an I.D. and proof of age 21 or older. Minors will be admitted to the special events area.
The Holly Springs Police Department and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department will provide security.
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