Welcome spring with Forsythia Festival this weekend in Forsyth

Telegraph correspondentMarch 7, 2014 

Forsythia_Fest

Downtown Forsyth was full of people enjoying the annual Forsythia Festival last year.

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Spring is coming a little early to Forsyth as the city kicks off its annual Forsythia Festival this weekend.

The festival, which began 27 years ago as a way to celebrate the community, takes its name from the similarly-named yellow shrub that blooms in the area.

“It kicks off the spring and the festival season in Middle Georgia,” said Darlene McLendon, president of the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce. “The weather is forecast to be in the mid 60s and beautiful and we’d love to have everyone come visit our community.”

The two-day event will cover part of the downtown square around Jackson Street and includes performances, arts and crafts vendors and a kids’ corner with activities and games.

“Our festival includes a community stage where there are local, unpaid performers,” McLendon said. “We give them the opportunity to get their voices heard or their acts seen. This runs all through the festival hours Saturday ... and again Sunday.”

The arts and crafts event will include vendors selling everything from birdhouses and wood cutouts to photography and fishing ties.

“The purpose is to represent handcrafted artisans and give them a platform to sell their wares,” McLendon said. “The American Camellia Society is joining us this year and will be selling camellias.”

Admission to the festival is free but there are fees for the kids’ activities, which will include a trackless train, pony rides, giant slides, obstacle courses and hamster balls.

“Our 5K race on Saturday morning is the only event we charge for,” McLendon said.

The race will start at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and participants can register on-site from 7-7:45 a.m.

Another big off-site event is Faith Fest, a faith-based, amateur singing competition that will take place Saturday night at First Baptist Church on W. Morse Street.

“It is faith-based but we’ll get country, we’ll get new age,” McLendon said. “It’s anything from solos to a seven-piece band.”

Participants compete in youth and adult categories for audience favorite.

“We allow the audience to vote,” McLendon said. “It’s audience participation on the voting. They choose who they like best.”

She said they are excited to have the women’s choir Voices of Hope from Arrendale State Prison in North Georgia return for this year’s Faith Fest.

Festival-goers have a good chance of seeing the signature shrub in bloom. McLendon said they’ve done work around the courthouse square and have added forsythias.

“There are some, but we are looking to have more,” she said. “The Dairy Queen here ... has a whole side of their landscaping in forsythia.”

The festival is not pet-friendly and organizers are asking attendees to leave their animals at home.

Forsythia Festival

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 8 and noon-5 p.m. March 9

Where: Jackson and Johnston streets, downtown Forsyth

Cost: Free

Information: www.forsythiafestival.com

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