Senior Staff Writer
Lewisburg Rotarians' Festival on the Rocks in Rock Creek Park got off to a swingin' good time Tuesday night with a carnival from Georgia and it continues today and Saturday with Prichard's state championship barbecue cook-off, hot air balloon rides, a foot race, cornhole tournament, arts and crafts.
Meanwhile, the Family Attractions Amusement Carnival proved to be something of an economic boost beyond bringing folks to town for a holiday. The carnival from Whitman, Ga., was hiring several local residents on Tuesday evening to work odd jobs on and around the midway, according to Julie Chitwood, a long-time Family Attractions employee.
"We get a couple of locals each week," Chitwood said Tuesday night when there were four people awaiting assignments. "About 40-some" employees came to Lewisburg to set up and run the carnival. The Family Attractions Amusement Carnival has another set of rides, workers and supplies operating in Franklin, N.C., now.
The carnival is among the new attractions to this year's Festival on the Rocks that's also conducting a talent competition.
"And for the first time," Rotarians announced on their Web site, "some of our cookers in the barbecue competition will be selling their delicious barbeque to the public."
Prichard's Distillery of Kelso in Lincoln County is again sponsoring the cook-off that has $6,000 in cash and prizes offered through four categories in a professional division and two categories in the backyard division. Phil Prichard's rum and whiskey are distinguished from large batch, mass-produced spirits. His are distilled in copper pots and stored in 15-gallon white oak barrels, and he's taken a personal interest in the Festival on the Rocks by sponsoring Prichard's Sauce Competition. As in previous years, the winner of his sauce competition will receive a new outdoor grill valued at $1,000.
Barbeque cook-off judging is mid-day Saturday. The awards presentation is at 4 p.m.
Saturday in the park starts with the Strollin' Down the Rock 5k Run/Walk beginning at 7 a.m.
Two special amusements are scheduled Friday evening.
Talent on the Rocks will showcase performers who will be on stage to entertain visitors. Contestants may include bands, vocal performers, instrumentalists, dramatic actors, poetry readers, comedians and dancers. The top three winners come back Saturday.
Also Friday, Logan Bedford of Lieper's Fork, an aeronaut operating Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures, will take people on tethered rides in his hot air balloon during a four-hour period starting as early as 5 p.m., depending on the weather.
Hot air balloon rides are usually best when the air is still during sunrise and dusk.
Bedford succeeds Ace High Balloonist Bob Grimes of Lewisburg who's in Decatur, Ga., for the 35th Annual Alabama Jubilee hot air balloon race including 60 hot balloons.
Lewisburg Rotarians' Festival on the Rocks in Rock Creek Park is a spin-off from the annual Goats Music and More Festival in October. Among various reasons, the Rotarians concluded there wasn't enough space in the park for the barbecue cook-off and the other events associated with what's casually known as GoatFest.