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Local festival continues to grow

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

Lowndes County residents will soon have the opportunity to enjoy local food, art and music once again.

Volunteers, residents and vendors are putting the final touches on the 10th annual Okra Festival scheduled for Aug. 28 at Annie Mae’s Art Place on Harriet Tubman Road in Burkville.

This year’s event will feature performing artists such as, the House Rockers with local volunteer firefighter Jerome Hardy and Sunny Boy King of Hayneville playing his “old blues.”

“The festival will feature camel rides, homemade ice cream and every form of okra around,” said Evans.

Vendors selling food are required to reside in Lowndes County, but arts and crafts vendors are welcomed from all over.

The event is, free, open to the public and is expected to begin around 11 a.m., according to festival organizer Barbara Evans.

The Okra Festival began with a partnership between Evans and a neighbor, Alice Stewart, as a neighborhood celebration.

As more and more Lowndes County residents began to gather, the event began to expand into the celebration it is today.

In previous years, the event has drawn thousands of people from in and out of town, including Australia and Spain, to enjoy the various festivities and has even received recognition as one of the top ten events in the southeast from Deep South Magazine.

After Stewart’s death, the Okra Festival has continued on with “down-home cooking and fun” keeping her memory in mind.

This year’s event is being sponsored by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Annie Mae’s Art Place, Alabama Council on the Arts, Cornerstone Community Foundation and Lowndes County Commission Districts 4 and 5.

Anyone looking for additional information about the Okra Festival can log onto www.okrafestival.org or contact Evans at Barbara@okrafestival.org.