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Warner Robins festival to include new events

WARNER ROBINS -- The Warner Robins International City Festival is coming back and in a slightly bigger way, festival chairwoman Gena DeBoe said.

DeBoe said the second year of the festival will include a second day that features a gala, a new backyard barbecue competition and expanded arts and crafts and children’s areas.

The Downtown Development Authority resurrected the festival last year after a nearly 10-year absence. DeBoe, vice chairwoman of the DDA, said she hopes it’s around for years to come as something to answer the plaguing question: What’s there to do around here?

“As we build attendance, we can extend it out,” she said. “We can have more and more events to give even more to do.”

DeBoe said the main festival will be held 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 29 in Commercial Circle, and a gala will be held on a preceding weekend day.

Tentatively, the gala will include a Miss and Mr. International City Festival pageant, a silent auction and a “womanless” pageant, DeBoe said. The prices and date for the gala have not been finalized.

The womanless pageant is “all in good fun,” said Pamela Rumph, who is organizing the gala. “Guys come as they are: the beards, the receding hairlines, the hairy legs.”

The festival also will feature a barbecue competition at Jimmy Perkins Memorial Field, DeBoe said. She envisions a contest that allows similar businesses and organizations to compete against each other in four categories. Organizers already have recruited some police and fire departments.

“If someone wants bragging rights, they can come out here,” DeBoe said.

The festival is held in the two southern quadrants of Commercial Circle. It includes vendors for food and shopping, a car show, games, music and raffles.

DeBoe said anyone who would like to participate in the event or be a sponsor or vendor should contact her at Gena Jayne: The Chic Boutique or visit the Downtown Development Authority website at www.wrdda.org.

Sponsors who donate at least $250 to the event will be featured on event T-shirts.

DeBoe said vendors and sponsor applications are due by Sept. 3. She said vendors should submit applications as soon as possible, especially if they are part of organizations that only allow one representative per event.

“We would hate for someone to miss out because they were holding on to their application,” she said.

Last year’s event raised about $13,000. The money was used as seed money for this year’s festival and for upcoming upgrades to Commercial Circle. Upgrades will include benches, trash cans and new paint for the sides of the outer buildings. The DDA also intends to contribute funds to a Veterans Memorial Park in the grassy area along North Davis Drive, DeBoe said.

“All the money stays right here in the community,” DeBoe said. “It goes towards redevelopment of our downtown area.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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