Spoonbread Festival sales and turnout "amazing," despite rain

Sep. 19—Sierra Marling

While the annual Spoonbread Festival experienced a some rain this weekend, officials said the festival still did well in terms of attendance and sales.

The Spoonbread Festival kicked off by opening on Friday with booths lined up along Memorial Park and rides operating by the Russel Acton Folk Center.

That night was also the annual Balloon Glow, where locals gather for a night picnic to watch hot air balloons glow with the intense heat of the fire that powers them.

Children and adults gathered around the balloon's baskets to get photos, while food truck lines stayed long.

On Saturday morning, vendors and rides still went on strong. There was also a parade, a spoonbread eating contest, and live music. However, the event got rained out later that afternoon.

It rained again the next day; however, Berea Chamber Manager Debbie Warford said that sales were still "amazing," with Sunday's attendance being higher than normal due to the event being rained out Saturday.

"When I was walking around talking to our vendors at the end of the festival, they said they got slammed, even when w got a late start on Friday. On Saturday, they had good sales. The rain did end that, but Sunday — they actually had amazing sales on Sunday. Almost all of them said that they made more this year than they did last year. So all of our vendors were happy," she said.

Warford confirmed that an estimated 4,100 people attended the festival with sold-out hotels signaling that they had many out-of-state visitors.

Excitedly, they had also "tried some new things" that she noted were successful, including a children's scavenger hunt that got kids face-to-face with county officials and a comic book that showed off mascot Captain Spoonbread's new look.

Overall, Warford declared the festival to have been a success.

"I think overall this was a real success," she remarked. "The music was amazing. We got a lot of compliments on that. So I would say I'm very pleased with the way that things turned out. We had a smooth run with no issues, and the weather — even though it rained — wasn't hot. So, we had a great weekend."

Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley also expressed satisfaction with the festival, saying that he was grateful for the work of the Berea Chamber of Commerce, the businesses, volunteers and city staff who worked together to make the festival a success.

He commented, "It was great to see people from Berea and Madison County, along with visitors from out of town, celebrating the season and having a good time."