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Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival kicks off Friday in RH

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POSTED: October 17, 2012 11:14 a.m.
Crissie Elrick/

Carnival workers on Tuesday move a ticket booth to a convenient location amongst the carnival rides in preparation for the 14th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, which begins Friday in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.

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Mouth-watering seafood, carnival rides, live entertainment and more are just some of what’s expected to draw tens of thousands of people to J.F. Gregory Park throughout the weekend when the 14th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival comes to Richmond Hill.
In previous years, the festival has drawn massive crowds of more than 30,000 area residents and tourists alike, and Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brianne Yontz expects this year to be no different.
“I think a lot of that will depend on weather, but fingers crossed it looks like it’ll be beautiful so we’re looking to have a similar crowd that we had last year, which was over 30,000 or 35,000 for the entire three days,” Yontz said.
The city of Richmond Hill has been working to make some repairs and upgrades to the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park. City Manager Chris Lovell said Monday he expected the repairs to the roof and upgrades to electrical system to be completed by Tuesday afternoon.
Lovell said the city took advantage of the park being closed to also do some roadwork, repaint the bathrooms and several other minor repairs. He said the park will definitely be ready in time for the festival.
“We’re excited and looking forward to it,” Lovell said. “We feel like we’ll have a big crowd. The chamber does a great job and we’re glad to be partners with them. I’m sure it’ll go off without a hitch.”
Carnival workers were also excited about the event. Tim Mennes and Lee Simmons were working Tuesday to put the finishing touches on the on the “Surge,” and both said the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival is their favorite event.
“We’re always excited when we come here to the seafood festival,” Mennes said. “The seafood is definitely the best part.”
The festival will officially kick off at 5 p.m. Friday, but not before Kissel Entertainment, the company who provides the rides for the festival, opens the gates for children with special needs and their families.
At 11 a.m. Friday, about 100 area children and their families can enjoy the rides at a slower pace and with the music volume lowered. Afterwards, the children are provided with a free lunch, ice cream and other treats.
Usually held on Friday to help kick off the festival, the annual Crab Crawl 5K, hosted by Energy Oasis, has been moved to 1 p.m. Sunday. Yontz said this was due to safety issues and it will now be one of the wrap-up activities for the festival. Those who wish to participate can register until Saturday at www.active.com
Festival-goers can enjoy a wide variety of live entertainment, including local talent Georgia Fire Band and Ravello on Friday. Megan and Liz, Blackberry Smoke and headlining band the Gin Blossoms, known for their tunes “Hey Jealousy,” “Found out about you” and “Till I Hear It From You,” will take the stage on Saturday, along with other local acts.
Admission prices for the festival vary by times. Adults get in the festival for $5 on Friday and Saturday until 4 p.m. and all day Sunday. After 4 p.m. Saturday, the price goes up to $15. Children ages 4-12 get in for $3 and children 3 and under get in for free.
No checks, credit or debit cards will be accepted. The festival is cash only, although there will be ATMs on site. Anyone who plans on drinking alcohol at the event should bring a valid ID.
“If people over 21 want to purchase an alcoholic drink, they need to have their ID no matter if they’re 21 or 101—everybody gets ID’d,” Yontz said.
Although there is no on-site parking, free parking will be available at various locations, and there will be a complimentary shuttle service running continuous routes during festival hours.
For more information, please visit www.goseafoodfestival.com, or call the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce at 756-3444.

Read more in the Oc. 17 edition of the News.

 

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