Houston & Peach

Battle of Byron brings back favorites, offers new event

BYRON -- The 36th annual Battle of Byron festival Saturday is expected to bring back some old favorites while incorporating a new event.

The festival will be held in downtown Byron, and the opening ceremony is at 10 a.m.

Some of the challenge events coming back are the bubble gum blowing contest and tug-of-war. New this year is a Battle of the Bands.

“I’m trying to bring back the old feel,” said Kristi Watkins, Battle of Byron chairwoman.

More than 60 arts and crafts and food vendors are expected to line Main Street from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Challenge events are also 10 a.m.-5 p.m. These events include hula hoop, horseshoes, a baseball and softball throw, a three-legged race and an obstacle course. Soccer inflatables will be used for a team challenge.

All events are geared for children and adults.

Winners will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Local merchants have provided prizes for the top winners in each challenge and for the person who wins the most challenges.

There’s also a pie eating contest and a high heel race.

The Battle of the Bands kicks off at 1 p.m. Three judges will decide which band will go to the next round. Eight bands have signed up to participate. The playoff between the top two bands is set for 6 p.m. The winner receives a $1,000 grand prize and is expected to be announced at 6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Southern Classic Cruisers, the Battle of Byron Car Show is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. in the Byron United Methodist Church parking lot. Trophies and awards are set to be announced at 7 p.m.

Also, a children’s play area will be set up for the day at Jailhouse Alley Park with Party Playgrounds supplying children’s inflatables. The Byron Police Department and Byron Fire Department will also have information booths geared toward children.

A farmers market area can be found at Jailhouse Alley Park.

The Battle of Byron headquarters will be located in the old Woodman of the World. Here the winners of the Byron and Kay Road elementary schools poster contest and the Byron Middle School essay contest can be viewed, and the Battle of Byron 2015 T-shirt can be purchased.

Early Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m., Byron police will close Main Street from Ga. 49 to Moseley Road. The road will reopen after the festival ends. The National Weather Service is predicting sunny skies, but severe weather would cancel the event, Watkins said. That’s happened only once in the festival’s history, she added.

On May 9, the Battle of Byron 5K Road Race will be held at North Peach Park.

The race will use the same route as the Susan G. Komen 5K, which goes from North Peach Park to Red Oak Road to Walker Road and back to North Peach Park.

In the past, the race was held downtown. The new route is expected to be easier.

To sign up for the race, email race coordinator Caryl Deems at caryldeems@windstream.net.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.