Foothills hot, but deemed successful

By ED HOWELL
Posted 9/9/18

In spite of heat and football cutting some attendance, the 2018  Coca-Cola Foothills Festival appeared to go off well without major incident. A good crowd showed up Friday night and …

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Foothills hot, but deemed successful

Posted

In spite of heat and football cutting some attendance, the 2018  Coca-Cola Foothills Festival appeared to go off well without major incident. 

A good crowd showed up Friday night and Saturday, although it appeared lighter Saturday afternoon in the wake of college football games, as well as hot conditions that sent the heat index well past 90.  A very good attendance was seen enjoying the final acts early Saturday night. 

Restaurants in the downtown area appeared to do good business Friday and Saturday, with restaurants off the courthouse square appearing to be filled inside at about 9 p.m. as the final set was about to start. Children were still actively involved in the Family Fun Zone as dark started, riding a number of rides or participating in activities such as basketball and golf games. 

Rusty Richardson of Bernard's, who had some clothing out for sale in a booth in front of his business, said he had a large amount of foot traffic and considered it a good day for his business. 

A larger number of food and drink vendors appeared to be in place, offering a wide range of items, from pizza to hot dogs. As temperatures in the 80s and stifling humidity hung in the air, a line was seen at the Alabama Sweet Tea Co. truck. A Florida's Fine Food booth had large bowls of food to serve, including fish, shrimp and lobster. Michelle's, which opened at the old First National Bank drive-through about a month ago, had a booth to sell treats. All the downtown restaurants had booths in front of their businesses. 

Jasper Mayor David O'Mary said late Friday the festival had gotten off to a good start, with only a small number of small problems, such as one downtown electrical outlet that didn't work. 

Some visitors and volunteers were disappointed a map and listing of the vendors was not available to direct people to the right location. A number of visitors were also asking where the Jasper Main Street dog dishes were, as they brought leashed dogs who were thirsty in the heat. 

Overall, O'Mary said late Saturday afternoon that the festival had come off as smoothly as one could expect, especially as rains had held off. While he said the televised college ballgames and the heat cut down attendance Saturday afternoon, O'Mary said at almost 6 p.m. Saturday he was pleased with attendance Friday night and expected a large attendance later that night.

"I spoke to a number of vendors," on Friday night, he said. "Not a one of them expressed disappointment with the volume of business they had Friday night," which pleased him. His own observation was that the Friday night crowd after 7 p.m. "was packed," although attendance appeared even better Saturday night, with parking scarce.