FORSYTH -- Crowds estimated in excess of 20,000 people flooded downtown Forsyth Saturday for the 29th annual Forsythia Festival.
With attendees milling around arts and crafts tents, food booths and other service vendors, there were times during the day that nearly every inch of pavement was accounted for.
"It's been constant and building," Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Events Manager Lindsey Childs said of the crowd. "It's a beautiful weekend."
Elaine Newsom, of Jackson, and her family spent time Saturday morning in the Kids' Corner, one of the most popular parts of the festival.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Telegraph
Newsom, a proud Mary Persons High School alumna and Forsyth native, said she's been attending the festival since it began.
"It's always a lot of fun," she said as she waited in line with her nephew and his daughter for the Hamster Ball attraction. Harmony Rose Tolbert, 4, wanted to climb into a one of the clear giant balls that, once inflated, are placed in a pool of water and allowed to roll and bounce around.
"They did it last year," Newsom said. "You get in there and dance and do the Watusi."
Childs said parents can buy $15 wristbands good for unlimited rides on all Kids' Corner attractions, making it "affordable for all-day fun."
The corner, located off North Jackson Street, also included several inflatable slides, bounce houses and an obstacle course along with a climbing wall and Fare Express train.
With the festival's non-compete policy, vendors were barred from selling identical wares, meaning there was a wide variety of goods for sale ranging from plants, yard art and furniture to clothing, leather goods and food.
Musicians entertained the crowd from a stage and play was steady in the Monroe County Horseshoe Championship.
A hog, who earlier in the day had feasted on pancakes, ewe and lambs were available for children to pet.
Two brothers from Juliette, dressed as Batman and Robin, won the second annual Superhero Stroller Race, a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Center of Forsyth.
Pregnancy Center Board Chairman Nathan Jackson said money raised from the event buys books used in the life choices curriculum taught to Mary Persons' students in 7th through 12th grades. About $1,000 was raised this year in race sponsorships.
The class helps students learn how to make choices about alcohol, friendships, relationship and sex, he said.
Last year nine teams competed using three-wheel strollers and four-wheel carts.
"Batman" Jonathan Pless, 19, and "Robin" Alan Pless, 17, both of Juliette, were the only costumed participants Saturday who brought a racing four-wheel cart, but two other teams did enter the 50-yard downhill race at the last minute to give them some competition.
With only one cart for the teams to use, the race was run in heats against the clock.
Zeb Wilson, of Juliette, and Chris Schweibert, of Forsyth, had the fastest time at 8.71 seconds, narrowly beating the Pless brothers' best time of 8.86 seconds. The brothers were declared the winner because they were the only team officially registered and in costume.
Patrick Sanders and Chris Bolton, both of Atlanta, completed the race with Sanders acting as a human wheelbarrow. Bolton held Sanders' feet as Sanders ran the race on his hands.
"We felt like having a wheelbarrow would be too easy," Sanders joked after crossing the finish line. "We were trying to give them a run for their money."
The festival is set to continue Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.