More than 1,000 people attended the first-ever Geranium Jam, in McDonough, Saturday. The concert closed out the 35th Annual Geranium Festival.
They came, and they came by the hundreds, for Saturday’s 35th Annual Geranium Festival, on and around the McDonough Square.
The McDonough Lions Club sponsored the event. Ed Galbreath, the club’s chairman, said it was a success, bringing more than 28,000 people to the city’s downtown area.
“Attendance all throughout the day was up,” he said. “We’ve seen families come out, and we’ve had a great response. I think it’s just been phenomenal, all day long.” He said part of the festival’s appeal is its ability to bring the Henry community together.
“You can find great food, and great fellowship,” Galbreath said. “It’s just a great opportunity to come together, and see some unique arts and crafts that you really aren’t going to see anywhere else.”
“I do not have figures on money raised,” he continued. “But, I can say that through the Geranium Festival, the McDonough Lions Club will be able to help more people.”
More than 350 vendors pitched tents on the downtown Square, and lined many nearby streets.
Vendors Erin and Freddie Briggs, had a tent display that included a car promotion for their company, 1st Stop. The McDonough couple was among the first vendors to mark their territory, around 7:15 a.m.
“We started setting up [Friday] night,” said Freddie Briggs. “We brought in mostly the major stuff like the car and tent, so when we got here this morning, all we had to do was prepare the tables.”
Lashan Hollis, of Fayetteville, and Susan Harris, of Stockbridge, manned the display called the Pampered Chef booth. They, too, were ready when the patrons started to arrive at 8 a.m. They were offering cooking shows.
“We’ve been coming to the festival for three years, and we are ready,” Harris said Saturday morning.
This year, the Geranium Festival included a concert featuring Atlanta-based Drivin’ N Cryin’, at nearby Alexander Park. The inaugural concert also included performances by Highway 55, and Bogey & the Viceroy.
Jennifer Price, tourism director for the City of McDonough, was pleased by the turnout at the first-ever Geranium Jam musical concert.
“We know there were over 1,050 that attended the Jam,” said Price. “We were blown away by the amount of attendees.” Price said a percentage of proceeds from the Geranium Jam will go toward facade grants for the city.
Youngsters, and adults, jammed the Square in this Southern Crescent city of 22,000-plus.
Lorraine Fiveash pushed her 1-year-old granddaughter, Isabella Waters, in a stroller, through throngs of people. The McDonough grandmother also had her grandson, Ryan Waters, 4, in tow. He wanted one of the treats he saw.
“I want chocolate candy!” the youngster exclaimed.
“It’s such a beautiful, gorgeous day to be outside,” said Fiveash. “We’re looking for the kids bounce houses, or any kids’ activities.” There were bounce houses, and even a booth where kids could do martial arts.
This year’s Geranium Festival was special, Fiveash said, because she got a chance to spend it with her family.
“I’ve missed the last two Geranium Festivals, because I am usually out of town,” she added. “Now I am here with my grandkids.”
Not far away, Christopher Peters, a 5-year-old McDonough boy, munched on chips and salsa. He likened the festival to “being at the park.” His aunt, Tequila Brown, said the event enabled her nephew to get a feel for the McDonough community.
“I like it because it’s community-driven, and everybody’s out here having a good time,” said Brown. “Everybody’s respecting each other, and it’s really good for Henry County.”
Staff writer Johnny Jackson contributed to this story.