Social Circle Better Hometown is gearing up to celebrate hometown heroes this weekend with a day filled with activities.
The 19th annual Friendship Festival takes place Saturday from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. in Social Circle’s downtown business district. The theme is "Hometown Heroes."
Mary Cross, a volunteer with Better Hometown, said 120 vendors are expected to be at the festival Saturday, offering food, pottery, blown glass, jewelry and more. Master Gardeners of Walton County also will hold a plant sale.
The festival will also include a kid’s zone with inflatables, arts and crafts, and live entertainment. Radio station Q92.3 will be live from the festival during the day.
The Church at the Grove is raffling off an iPad Mini, and those attending also can register to win a Big Green Egg Smoker/Grill and a helicopter ride, Cross said.
In addition, the festival’s first-ever pie eating contest will be open to 10 competitors. The contestant who can down an entire lemon meringue pie the fastest will win dinner for two at The Blue Willow Inn Restaurant. Register by 1 p.m to compete. The event will be held in front of the fire station.
As a part of the Friendship Festival, businesses and community members have already been participating in other contests. Winners of the Friendship Festival Window-Decorating Contest and the Scarecrow Stampede Contest will be announced Saturday.
Cross said the day also will feature a pet parade. There is no cost to sign up, but anyone who’s interested should register the day of the event. Pets should be dressed according to this year’s theme to compete for prizes. And Cross stressed that any parading pets must be well-mannered and leashed. Lineup for the pet parade will be at 9 a.m. in the back parking lot behind Social Circle High School.
Cross said close to 80 volunteers have spent the past several months preparing for the Friendship Festival. She and her husband, Mike Miller, executive director of the Social Circle Better Hometown Program, hosted a social at their home for volunteers, and about 40 people showed up to help finalize the event.
Better Hometown volunteer Sue Ellis has spent the week going through last-minute notes, answering questions about the event, and cutting coupons for vendors to distribute. Cross has organized t-shirts for volunteers.
"We’ve been planning the festival since last year’s festival," Miller said. "The day after, we usually have vendors who sign up."
Megan Hardy said she’s enjoyed her firs t year as chairman of the festival.
"It’s been a lot of fun. I’m blessed to work with people who know a lot about the festival," she said.
Sponsors for the 2013 Friendship Festival include Clearview Regional Medical Center, Church at the Grove, Pinnacle Bank, Ace Home Center, Social Circle Theater, Jan Listak, Aqua-Terra and Main Street.
For more information about the Friendship Festival, visit socialcirclegabht.com/friendship_festival.htm.