Sweet Tea Festival kicks off in Fulton

Need something fun to do over the weekend? The Sweet Tea Festival to Benefit A Way Out may have the answer.
Packing the courtsquare in downtown Fulton with rides, games, music and vendors, the second annual charitable event is set to eclipse last year’s in terms of size and amount to see and do.
The event will kick off today at 5 p.m. in downtown Fulton with carnival rides, games and vendor booths open for business. A total of 10 rides will be set up around the courtsquare, as well as booths from a variety of vendors including Blind Tiger Creek, My Elegant Clutter, Courtyards, Habitat for Humanity and Operation Christmas Child.
According to Shaune Holiday, project director for A Way Out and planner for the Sweet Tea Festival, one of the goals of this year’s event was to attract more vendors.
“We lowered the prices on our booth space for our vendors,” Holiday said. “Last year, we weren’t really sure about pricing, but this year we wanted to make sure we have as many booths as possible.”
For tonight alone, attendees will be able to purchase arm bands and ride as many rides as they’d like.
On-stage entertainment will begin at 6 p.m. with a performance by the Itawamba Community College Jazz Ensemble. Afterwards, Tremont’s own singer/songwriter Eddie Moore will take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by a large block party from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.
The event will continue Friday night, beginning at 5 p.m. with carnival rides, games, food and vendors. According to Holiday, there will be no onstage entertainment that night as a sign of respect for the Relay for Life event, which will also be held that evening.
Saturday will be packed with activities beginning at 9 a.m. with the Sweet Tea Festival 5K run/walk along the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Participants will need to register at the Sweet Tea Festival booth, located near the corner of the courthouse, by 8 a.m. Registration is $20 per participant.
The namesake activity of the festival, the sweet tea competition, will begin at noon at Lily’s Cafe on the square. The contest is open to anyone who doesn’t mind brewing at least a quart of his or her best sweet tea for judging.
Categories for the competition will include sweet tea, unsweetened tea and exotic tea, with first through third place ribbons being awarded in each category.
Saturday morning and afternoon will also play host to the Sweet Tea Festival car show. Open to classic cars from throughout the decades, the event will allow participants to both show off their automobiles and possibly take home a trophy or two. Trophies will be awarded to the top 10 cars with a second trophy going to the people’s choice winner.
Entry into the competition is $20 per vehicle.
Entertainment on Saturday will kick off at 2 p.m. with hip hop group Raising Kane taking centerstage. At 3 p.m., gospel group Awesomeness will make an appearance followed by the Gospel Angels at 3:30 p.m.
There will be a break in entertainment until 5 p.m., when the Community Trio will take the stage followed by the Sunlighters at 6 p.m. Finally, local rock band Forever and Never will close out the night’s onstage entertainment at 7 p.m.
According to Holiday, any person or group still interested in performing at the festival can sign up. For more information on the Sweet Tea Festival or to enter as a musical performer or vendor, contact Holiday at 662-255-5305.
Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing adam.armour@itawamba360.com or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.


Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

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