Thousands attracted to Forsythia Festival in Forsyth

So successful, some vendors began running out of food, crafts

lmorris@macon.comMarch 10, 2013 

Four-year-old Conner Butler of Macon, spent a good part of Sunday afternoon enjoying the Forsythia Festival with his dad and grandmother.

There was certainly a lot for children to do and see. A line formed in front of a booth offering face painting, kids were steadily entering a giant blow-up slide, taking turns speeding down a zip line and running through a boot camp obstacle course.

But, what did Conner, who will be 5 next week, say he enjoyed most? “A milkshake,” he said, grinning.

His grandmother Sandra Sullivan was visiting her son and grandson when they decided to come to the festival. She was holding a bag with an Alabama planter in it. Her son Jimmy Butler is a big Alabama fan, she said.

“That’s why we came today,” she said, laughing at the irony of her purchase since she lives in Alabama. “Somebody called and told us that they had an Alabama planter up here.”

Besides, with the temperature about 70 degrees, it was a good day to get out.

“It’s been real nice,” she said. “The weather has not been real hot or cold.”

The two-day festival, which is held annually the second weekend in March in downtown Forsyth, is a free event featuring at least 120 craft and food vendors, a children’s fair, a 5K and one-mile fun run and live entertainment.

Crafters displayed a wide variety of items for sale including pottery, handmade outdoor wooden furniture, soy candles, handmade American Girl doll clothes, bird houses, flower wreaths, painted wine glasses and leather-tooled belts and purses.

Darlene McLendon, president of the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, said late Sunday at least 20,000 attended the festival during the two days.

“It was so packed (Saturday) you could hardly walk,” McLendon said. “We had vendors who sold out (Sunday).”

First-time vendor Nicki Halstead, of Barnesville, was selling handmade fishing lures at her Blue Collar Jigs and Flies booth.

As a woman in a mostly male field, “sometimes I get funny looks,” Halstead said. “Sometimes, the guys question whether or not they are any good until they try them, or until they see pictures of what we’ve caught with them. I give a lot of them away -- to give people an opportunity to try them before they buy them.”

Halstead has been making the lures about four years and some bait stores in Middle Georgia carry them, and some of her business comes from word-of-mouth. The lures work with all kinds of fish and have been used by customers in all the midstate lakes, in Florida and even in the Amazon River, she said.

The main advantage Halstead has with her lures, compared with mass-produced ones, is that she can custom make them any way a customer wants regarding shape, color and size.

Another vendor, Ken King, from Lake Panasoffhee, Fla., was attracting some attention with what he called Picksticks -- also known as Pickin’ Sticks -- three-string wooden instruments that sound like a cross between a guitar and a dulcimer.

“I didn’t invent them, but I make them,” he said.

King was a vendor last year and likes the atmosphere.

“It’s a well-heeled festival,” he said.

Ellen Godbee of Bogart wore a Forsythia-yellow shirt and was sitting on a short wall on Johnson Street. She had just finished eating a rib-eye steak sandwich she said was “delicious.”

Godbee and her husband -- both originally from Macon -- had traveled about two hours from near Athens for their first visit to the Forsythia Festival.

“This has been nice because it’s not so overwhelming,” she said. “The prices have been good. I would definitely come again.”

She plans to don a pink outfit and come to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, which begins Friday.

“I traditionally come, even if I come by myself,” she said.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service