October 19, 2021

SummerFest 2018 draws another big crowd

(Franklin, GA) — A plethora of Heard County residents and visitors from throughout the West Georgia/East Alabama areas converged onto downtown Franklin last Saturday night for the annual SummerFest event and community fireworks show.

The event kicked off at 5:00 pm on the square where patrons enjoyed food, drinks, a dunking booth, train rides, games, and much more. Country music fans enjoyed music by local favorites Chase Tibbets, Hunter Flannigan and Charlie Hudgins and the Still under the gazebo.

The Georgia Peach Cloggers were also on hand to entertain the large crowds.

As always one of the premier attractions was the traditional watermelon eating contest sponsored by the Piggly Wiggly that offered cash prizes to those willing to chow down on some melon with no hands.

Jaquavious “Snoopy” Jordan was the top prize winner in the 10-17 year old division with Kenny Olmstead blowing away the competition in the adult field of contestants for his second championships in the last three years. 6-year-old Jolie Pitts was the top prize winner in the large field of 9-under contestants.

Another unwelcome tradition at SummerFest was the presence of the typical summer weather pattern which caused the fireworks show to be moved up to 9:00 PM. The show was also an abbreviated one due to safety concerns for those in attendance.

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Heard County Chamber of Commerce President Renai M. Brock says the decisions were tough but she is thankful for everyone that worked together to make the best decision possible in regards to the fireworks show.

“Chief Steve Wirth and Chief Kevin Hannah were in constant contact with the National Weather Service getting minute-by-minute updates on weather conditions. Of course, it is our goal for everyone to have a great time during the festival but keeping everyone safe when the weather could change drastically in just a few minutes was a top priority,” said Brock in a post event press release.

“As weather conditions began to change, the Chamber Board of Directors, Chief Wirth, Chief Hannah, and the pyrotechnic professionals made the decision to move the fireworks show up to 9:00 p.m. for the safety and protection of all the citizens that had gathered. The Fireworks show was designed to last between 20-25 minute, but with the threat of strong wind, heavy rain and hail, the fireworks had to be shot in a short amount of time or not at all,” added the Chamber President.

Brock was also thankful for all that were involved in making the large scale event a success.

“Without the help from Heard County Emergency Services, Franklin Police Department, Heard County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Franklin, and Heard County Government a festival of this magnitude would not be possible. And of course, never to forget the wonderful sponsors that continue year after year believing in Heard County and SummerFest,” said Brock.

Chief Hannah was especially thankful for another event that went on without any major negative incidents.

“We are very appreciative of the support we receive each year from the Heard County Sheriff’s Office and other neighboring law enforcement agencies. This assistance is extremely important in making the event safe and enjoyable for the community and those visiting,” said Chief Hannah.

Hannah says there are some difficult challenges each and every year some that can be helped by more cooperation from festival goers.

“As with any event that attracts a large crowd, there are challenges we face each year which include: limited parking, traffic control, excessive litter, and weather concerns. Our goal is to address those within our control by working with businesses and those attending the event and posting signage and open communication in hopes of compliance. Although most people comply, some don’t and we ask for more to do so at future events.”

According to Chief Hannah’s report there were zero arrests during SummerFest.

“I would like to personally thank everyone that assisted in once again making this a successful and enjoyable event,” said Hannah.


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