Rockin’ Railroad blows downtown away!

Folks make their way around the vendor area during the first annual Rockin’ Railroad Festival in downtown Hazlehurst on Saturday.

Pat Roper performs his single “Now We’re Gettin’ Somewhere” on Saturday evening at the pavilion in downtown Hazlehurst.

The weather was fantastic here Saturday in downtown Hazlehurst, where the first annual Rockin’ Railroad Festival took place.  A crowd of close to 1,500 meandered through the festival area throughout the day and enjoyed great entertainment, a fun-filled kids zone, a terrific car show, a wonderful arts and literature display, delicious food and visiting with each other.

Hazlehurst native and Lofton Creek Records country artist Pat Roper topped off the day with a rousing performance that included a special guest, Brad Goodman–a local musician and one of Roper’s long-time friends–who teamed up with Roper and his band on an exciting version of ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’

“We are totally blown away by the response to the first Rockin’ Railroad Festival,” said chamber president Joe Coates.  Planning for the event began in February and was totally undertaken by the chamber’s board of directors and several volunteers who served on a wide variety of committees.  “We can definitely say–without a doubt–that this first event was a resounding success,” he added.

“Awesome!  Everyone has truly enjoyed themselves and are amazed what can be accomplished in our town,” said chamber director John Huntington–and one of three members, along with Coates, on the event’s Steering Committee.

Janet Foster, the other member of the Steering Committee, was extremely pleased with the success of this first festival.  “We see what can happen when people come together to promote an event that will be enjoyed by everyone.  It’s certainly been a great experience for me, for the chamber and for Hazlehurst,” she said.

Chamber executive director Randall Day, a long-time resident of Hazlehurst, agreed with the Steering Committee members.  “I’ve been here a long time and don’t remember the last time the entire community was able to enjoy such an event.  I’m proud that the Chamber spear-headed the effort and look forward to presenting the second annual event in 2010,” Day said.

Read more about the Rockin’ Railroad Festival in this week’s edition of the Copiah County Courier, and check out photos from the festival in our Photo Album at left.

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