With beautiful weather and record crowds, this year’s Hummingbird Festival brought entertainment, food and, with more than 200 vendors, lots of shopping.
Hummingbird Festival chairman Ralph Lynch was very pleased with this year’s festival.
“This year we have even expanded the entertainment, there are now three stages set up. The weather has been great and the people are having a good time,” Lynch said.
Mary Stewart and her husband Bill Stankiewicz have been volunteering and working with the festival for the past 12 years, and were given the credit for building the festival to what it is today.
“The total is up to 15,000 people, we have broken every record and the day is not over, we should at least reach 20,000 this year. Yesterday, the blooming onion concession alone went through 935 pounds of onions,” Stewart said early Sunday afternoon.
Stankiewicz, former Hogansville city manager, added: “The success of this festival is due to the tremendous collaboration of our volunteers. The real secret of leadership is to get out of the way. Every year new people come into the organization and we are able to incorporate their ideas.”
Vendors from across Georgia and beyond attended the Hummingbird Festival. Gerald and Betty Westbrook of Creative Call-Ins in LaGrange have been coming to the festival for the past seven years. Sunday’s steady stream of people kept the couple busy.
“Yesterday has been awesome, a lot of folks, a lot of LaGrange folks have been here. We do a good business here each year,” Gerald Westbrook said .
Hogansville City Councilman Jack Leidner said the revenue from the festival benefits Hogansville.
“Essentially the money we make from the festival goes back into the town, we use it for matching funds for grants,” he said. “This makes it possible to have 10 times the leverage which allows us to do streetscapes, Tower Trail projects, replacement of sewer lines, it’s about $2.2 million in infrastructure improvements.”
Besides using the revenue for city projects, since 2005 the festival has donated to charities including American Red Cross’s Katrina relief fund, the Shriner’s Hospital, the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Georgia, Breast Friends for Life, Hogansville’s GED program and local food bank God’s Bread Basket.
This is the third year that the West Georgia Physicians have sponsored this event.