2012 Okra Festival deemed most successful in festival’s history

Published 11:17 am Thursday, September 6, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

“This year’s Okra Festival was the largest in our 12 year history,” co-founder Barbara Evans of Burkville said.

Evans reported on the success of the event held Aug. 25 in Burkville in a letter to the Lowndes County Commission read aloud by Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas.

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Evans cited media sources, which estimated the crowd to be between 4,000 to 5,000 people.

She said food vendors, who had to reside in Lowndes County to participate, “pulled in  $20,000 with overall vendors reaping $35,000 in sales.”

Evans noted that County Commissioner Dickson Farrior greeted John McMillan, commissioner for the state Department of Agriculture and Industries, to the event.

She also said residents received funds from the rental of dumpsters and portable toilets and sold fresh fruits, vegetables and preserves.

“It was a huge hit,” Evans said.

She said the festival overcame the fact the state didn’t cut the grass on the right-of-way making it hard to see signs pointing the way to the event.

She thanked those who made a ramp to Annie Mae’s Art Place possible, which provided access to the handicapped, as well as to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for security and to Commissioners Farrior and Joseph Barganier for their financial support.

“This is economic development homegrown style,” Evans said. “We took what we had and made what we needed.”

Farrior asked that the minutes of the commission meeting include thanks to Evans and the Burkville Community for the festival. He said he thought the event brought in more money than Evans said.

“It was an asset to Lowndes County, and I think we should all be proud of it and commend them for doing it.”