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Pollen Festival brings shoppers, no pollen

By Rachel Shirey

rshirey@henryherald.com

HAMPTON — Downtown Hampton swarmed with families enjoying the sunshine as children took advantage of pony rides, blow-up slides and a chicken coop.

Hampton hosted its fifth-annual Yellow Pollen Street Festival Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and had 82 vendors while hundreds of visitors walked the downtown streets.

Minus a prominent dusting of pollen.

“It’s been great,” said Shaherra Rolen of Atlanta. “Everyone here is very nice — great food, great products, a lot of handmade originals, and I really, really appreciate that. My daughter wants to ride the ponies and my son wants to jump up and down. So we’re happy to be here.”

Stands like Shay’s Soaps, Sarge’s Deli and Pub, Miracle Method and Gobo Photography lined the streets in an array of colorful tents, mixed with the aroma of ponies and fresh barbecue.

Hampton resident Rodney Dudley said it was a beautiful day and he couldn’t imagine a better use of sun, except to tend to his lawn.

“I really like it, it’s real nice,” Dudley said. “I’ve got my grandkids, and I’m just walking them around letting them look at the animals or whatever.”

Dudley said his two grandchildren favored the blow-up slide and bungee jump, but his wife ran off to bargain shop.

“I’ve been living in the city of Hampton the last three years, and I always pass by and see the sign with the roads blocked off, but I never knew what it (was),” he said. “This year, my wife decided that we would come out and just check it out and see how it (was).”

Organizer Arley Lowe said the event originally started as a joke because the last thing people want to do is celebrate pollen, but after five years the event has more than tripled in size.

This year, he said they had to turn vendors away because they ran out of space downtown.

The festival was sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority and Main Street Program, and Lowe said all proceeds will go back to the DDA to help keep Hampton beautiful.

“I usually go to events like this around Atlanta, but this is my first time coming to the Yellow Pollen Festival,” said Rolen. “We’re having a great time here, something we’ll want to come back to next year.”