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Brewton to host Festival this weekend

The Brewton area may see a boom in the economy this weekend as the annual Blueberry Festival and 125th anniversary of the city gets underway.

Judy Crane, executive director of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the event may bring more people to the area than in years past since many more activities are planned.

“There is going to be plenty to do beginning Thursday evening and all the way through the weekend,” Crane said. “I’m hoping because of so much going on there will be more reason than ever to spend some time in Brewton.”

Brewton will be hosting the 30th annual Blueberry Festival in conjunction with a 125th anniversary celebration of the city, Crane said.

“There will be so much going on from concerts and art shows to the Festival, a movie and fireworks,” Crane said. “Our area retailers are gearing up for a busy weekend so there will be plenty of opportunity to have a good time all around Brewton.”

Thursday evening will find the first of the celebration events kick-off with a concert at The Oaks on Douglas Avenue.

A concert featuring Grayson Capps and the Lost Cause Minstrels will perform at The Oaks from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets for the event are $10 at the door.

Special ceremonies will highlight the day on Friday with two ceremonies honoring historic names in Brewton.

A “Laying of the Wreath” ceremony will be held at Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery at 8 a.m. honoring the namesake of the city. An historic marker dedication will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the sidewalk at the downtown location of Bank of Brewton. The original bank front, located adjacent to the current entrance, will be the site of the marker and dedication honoring the financial institution as the oldest bank in Alabama. Both ceremonies are open to the public.

Friday evening will also offer unique opportunities for area residents and visitors. Organizers are planning an “Evening of Art” from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at The Hourglass downtown. Artists displaying their work include Shannon Brantley, Ashley Chavers, Louise Garrett, Jim Gay, Jackie Jackson, Clay Lisenby, Megan Lisenby, Wende McConaughy, Trisha McDonald, Catie Fountain Radney, Emilie Wesley, Lee Bain, Will Crane and Jane McMillan.

Following the art exhibit, an evening of entertainment will be provided by “Rusty Golden and Friends” beginning at 7 p.m. at The Ritz. Tickets for the event are $15 with limited seating.

Saturday’s events will begin at 9 a.m. at Burnt Corn Creek Park when vendors will display arts and crafts, singers and dancers will entertain and cooks will have wonderful smells filing the festival grounds.

“We have so much planned for this year’s events including some wonderful entertainment, great food and plenty of arts and crafts on hand,” Crane said. “In the area of food we have Pig Daddy’s serving up barbecue for the day. Of course we will also have the foods people expect at a festival including hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes and just about anything else you could want.”

Although the Kiwanis Club will not be in charge of concessions this year, Crane said there will be plenty of food and drink available.

“We have made arrangements to have plenty of good food and plenty of drinks available at the festival,” Crane said. “With the ice cream we are doing something a little different. We will have an Ice Cream Trolley set up with all kinds of ice cream including the blueberry ice cream. That has to be one of the most popular items as the festival and we did everything we could to make sure we have blueberry ice cream.”

After a long day of fun and entertainment, festival-goers will have a chance to relax and enjoy great singing and a movie that highlights life in Alabama.

The Brewton Community Choir is scheduled to perform beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the downtown park on the gazebo stage, Crane said. A special movie will be presented following the open-air concert.

“We will be showing Forrest Gump following the festival,” Crane said. “Since so much of the movie is set in Alabama, we thought it would be great to celebrate with the movie.”

The movie, which begins at 8:15 p.m. and is hosted by the City of Brewton Recreation Department, will be shown in the vacant lot across from the Escambia County Courthouse on Belleville Avenue.

The day’s events will culminate with a special fireworks display following the movie.

“There will be a fireworks display at Burnt Corn Creek Park following the movie,” Crane said. “We expect that to be around 10:30 p.m.”

Crane said shuttle service will be available to get visitors to Burnt Corn Creek Park for the day’s events.

“We will have shuttle service ready to bring people from wherever they park to the park,” Crane said. “Shuttles will run from Alco Plaza, the

Courthouse, O’Bannon Park, just wherever we need to and we’ll run them all day long.”

Rounding out the weekend of events will be homecoming services at Alco Baptist Church. Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will feature singing by the musical group Southland. Dr. Rick Lance, executive director for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, will bring the morning message. The event is open to the public.

For additional information concerning the events surrounding the annual Blueberry Festival or for ticket information, contact the Chamber offices at 867-3224.