The Dearing Mayfest won't be all just fun and games. There is a purpose behind the actions of the inaugural event's organizers.
Those in charge hope the proceeds from Dearing's first-ever city-wide festival will go a long way to help restore a piece of the town's history -- the old elementary school gym. But before that goal could be reached, there was a lot of work to do.
Now that the May 7 festival is little more than two weeks away, organizers are striving to ensure that the estimated 1,000-plus visitors to the town will come away with a good impression and an enthusiasm for next year's festival.
"We're all really on pins and needles," said Mayfest organizer Judy Hobbs. "Everybody has worked so well together, and we're just looking forward to next year's. We decided that every year it will be the first Saturday in May, so it will be a yearly thing."
The festival started because several Dearing residents saw the success of the Oliver Hardy Festival in Harlem and Festival off Main in Thomson. They thought their town could have a similar event that would put Dearing on the map and help raise money for a good cause at the same time.
"I think it will make all of the people who don't know about us know that we exist," said Dearing Mayor Ralph Menees. "I think they'll be pleased with what they see."
Mayfest is packed with activities for people of all ages. A tractor and antique car parade will kick off the festival. Mayor Menees and Bill Eubank -- a former long-time mayor -- will be grand marshals of the parade that will feature cheerleaders and boy scouts from the town.
More than 60 vendors will be stationed around the old school drive during the festival with an information booth in front of the building. A Dearing history display will be set up in the gym while a stage for local performers will be just outside the gym. Local children are also getting involved with a Dearing Elementary coloring contest.
Several fundraising activities will also be featured at the festival. Organizers are completing a quilt that pictures old buildings in the town called "Window to Our Past" which will be raffled off. A cookbook will also be for sale that features recipes from the town's residents.
But the cookbook won't be the only way to get some good eats. A hamburger cook-off will start at noon with judging at 1 p.m. First prize is $300.
According to organizers, the word is getting out. They hope that Dearing triples in population for the 9-5 festival.
"We've never had vendors in Dearing. I think that will be great," Mayor Menees said.
"The response has just been overwhelming," Ms. Hobbs said. "Dearing is going to be noticed. ...We feel like we've done well for the first year."