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Mayfest brings large crowd to Dearing

Thousands gathered at the field in front of the old Dearing Elementary School Saturday to shop, eat and listen to local musicians.


Hunter Williams, 14 months, looks a little unsure as he listens to a clown talk during Saturday's Mayfest.

Organizers of the second annual Mayfest said the event was a great success and an improvement from last year. The event raised between $10,000 and $11,000 to help renovate the old Dearing gymnasium.

"I think it went great. It was really organized this year," said Judy Hobbs, whose idea for a festival started the Mayfest movement. "Parking was great. It really just went smooth."

The day started with a parade through the town, featuring old farm equipment from some of the area's agricultural enthusiasts, classic cars and civic organizations. Around 140 vendors lined the field, along with several children's attractions.

A history display about Dearing was set up in the gym. It included information on the town, the school and people from the surrounding area.

Those who came out for the festival said they enjoyed the food and fun at the event and hope to make it a yearly tradition.

"I just got here. I've been kind of walking around," said Seth Philbrick, as he ate a polish sausage for lunch. "I like all the cool little booths and stuff like that."


Bill Vinson, riding the self-proclaimed "ugliest tractor in Georgia," waves to the crowd during the Mayfest parade Saturday morning.

The trophy for Miss Allene's Burger Battle returned home this year as Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley's hamburgers claimed the top prize over last year's winner, Harlem Mayor Scott Dean and several other contestants.

Pam Neal of Neal's Restaurant won the quilt featuring churches over 100 years old in McDuffie County. Last year's quilt, featuring old buildings in Dearing, is on display in the Dearing Caf×ę after Pam Benson, the restaurant's owner, won the raffle.

"I told them, é─˛Somebody's going to think this thing is rigged,'" Mrs. Hobbs said. "They were both Pams and both restaurants."

The festival committee is glad for a break but already looking forward to next year. Committee members met Tuesday night to celebrate the festival's success and tally up the final dollar figure for the event.


Alex Gilliam, 7, gets upended on an inflatable slide during Mayfest Saturday morning.

Mrs. Hobbs said the committee is looking for new members to help in the planning and setup for the event. Anyone interested can contact her at 706-595-7969 or one of the other committee members. The first meeting to plan for the third annual event takes place on Sept. 12.


Boy Scout Joshua Rodgers carries a folded American flag at the start of Saturday's Mayfest parade.


Janice Hobbs, a member of The Silly Clowns, rides in a golf car during Saturday's Mayfest parade.


Thomson Shrine Club member Ken Rumbaugh leads a pack of Shiner miniature cars during Saturday's Mayfest parade.


Christopher Howell, 9, of Dearing, jumps through a tunnel on an inflatable obstacle course during Saturday's Mayfest.


Austin Haney, 11, of Thomson, concentrates while climbing a rock wall during Saturday's Mayfest.

Web posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006

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