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Plans for 2006 Mayfest taking shape in Dearing

The 2006 Dearing Mayfest has additions that will make it better than last year's great success. According to Judy Hobbs, the festival chairwoman, and Johnette Bell, the vendor coordinator, festival plans are falling into place.

"There are so many things to think about. Things like the Department of Transportation and porta-potties. You don't usually think about details like that, you just want to have fun," Mrs. Hobbs said.

Mrs. Bell said she is getting more excited as the deadline is drawing near. She said they are making changes based on a few mistakes they made last year.

The festival, to be held on Saturday, May 6, in Dearing, will begin with a parade at 9 a.m. This year's parade will be bigger with the addition of floats, according to Mrs. Hobbs. Also, Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley said about 15 cars from Thomson's Car Show at the Depot have entered the parade.

A suggestion was discussed at the last Dearing Town Council meeting to line the parade entries up along Printup Street rather than at the ballpark like last year. A final decision was not made, but the idea is being considered in order to keep the parade entries from being "jumbled up and not able to get in and out." To participate in the parade, contact Gladys Rodgers, 706-556-6313.

To make the festival more accessible and comfortable, two shuttle buses will transport people from the parking area to the festival. Also, Mrs. Bell said handicap ramps will be in place - a detail that was overlooked last year.

"We thought about it last year, but then it just went over our heads, and I felt so bad about it on the day of the festival. But we will have handicap access to the grounds this year," she said.

Children will be delighted to see 10 carnival rides for them, compared to three last year.

And there are more "exclusively Dearing" items to purchase this year. Mrs. Hobbs said the purpose of the festival is to raise money for restoration of the Dearing gym. The cookbook offered last year is available again this year.

"They were so popular, we did not make enough of them, so we made more," Mrs. Bell said.

Persons who already purchased the cookbook, and who still want to help the cause, may enjoy the new 18-month calendar with pictures of scenes around Dearing. A price for the calendar has not yet been established, but Mrs. Hobbs said it will be available during and after the festival.

Stamp collectors will find a one-of-a-kind limited edition postage stamp with "Miss Allene's Burger Battle" on it. Mrs. Bell said the stamp will also be available at the Dearing Post Office after the festival, but will expire after 30 days. The price of the stamp, which features "the little hamburger guy," is the same as a regular postage stamp.

The burger battle is named in honor of Allene Reeves, who is famous among locals for the delicious hamburgers she sold at her restaurant in downtown Dearing for many years. Mayor Kelley said he has entered the cook-off, and wants to encourage more people to do the same. Last year's cook-off winner was Scott Dean, the mayor of Harlem.

"We need more people to sign up for that cook-off. We cannot let Scott Dean take that trophy back to Harlem. ... I tell you, I just can't stand the thought of that," Mayor Kelley said. To enter the Hamburger Cook-off, call Todd Upchurch, 706-595-5858.

This year's quilt for raffle, made by Mrs. Hobbs, features 16 McDuffie County churches that are over 100 years old. Mrs. Hobbs said the oldest church is Wrightsboro. She said she also included Dearing Baptist, which is still a few years shy of 100. Raffle tickets are one dollar and will be available during the festival. Other items are becoming available for raffle, Mrs. Bell said, but details are not yet finalized.

The festival will include over 100 crafts and food vendors. Also, Mrs. Bell said many local residents are signing up to sell things to raise money for the Relay For Life. She said these people need to contact her as soon as possible at 706-595-3087.

Mrs. Hobbs said she works to organize the festival because "Dearing is really important to is home."

"We raised $19,775 last year at the first festival. How many towns can say that for their first festival? ...When you have such a good one the first year, it's hard to think of what to do to top that. All of us work together, it's not one person doing all the work, it's everybody," Mrs. Hobbs said.

Web posted on Thursday, April 13, 2006

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