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First-year festival deemed ‘huge success’

LIVINGSTON-With the first annual Sucarnochee Folklife and Heritage Festival coming to a close, Dr. Tina Jones, a professor at the University of West Alabama and the event’s organizer said the festival was a huge success and they are currently working on making next year’s festival even better.

Jones said the festival lasted from April 27-May 2 including Saturday, April 24 and was widely attended by people from all the surrounding counties, in fact there were over 700 people at the festival on Saturday and a total of 1,300 for the event.

“This was a major victory for UWA in its attempt to spread the message of culture to the surrounding counties that makeup West Alabama,” Jones said.

She said all the vendors and the crafts people were excited about the overall event and the number of people that attended all the different functions. She also said that all the displays and crafts were very hands on and many of the vendors felt as if they touched some of the people’s lives with their art.

“I had one of the weaving experts tell me that one little girl was walking away saying she wanted to be a weaver just like the expert craftswomen,” Jones said.

Livingston Mayor Tom Tartt said he was greatly pleased by the turnout for the festival and hopes that the university will work to make it an annual event. He also said President of UWA Dr. Richard Holland and Jones was to be commended for their efforts in pulling this festival off with a hitch.

“This is a great festival for the City of Livingston and the University of West Alabama to be associated with,” Tartt said.

Jones said three of the countless number of events really took off in popularity and will defiantly be back next year. They were the cornbread cook-off, the walking ghost tour of Livingston, and the 5K Sucarnochee River Run.

Jones said the cornbread cook-off had many different entries into the three categories such as the traditional, specialty, and the best cornbread recipe. She also said three Livingston residents sweep the awards and they included Lizzie Williams 13, took first place in traditional, Sara Adams, took first place in specialty, and Randianne Hall took first place for the best cornbread recipe with her Tennessee Cornbread Salad.

Jones said 75 people showed up for the walking ghost tour of Livingston that was led by Dr. Alan Brown, author of “The Face in the Window.” She also said the 5K run was well attended and that many of the runners really enjoyed the course and they look forward to participating in next year’s event.

“Since the turnout was so good for the festival, we’re thinking of moving the festival up to an earlier date in April,” Jones said.