Last Saturday, thousands of people took to the Historic Downtown Square in Grenada to celebrate the 16th Downtown Jubilee.
Temperatures barely reached 90 degrees after the 9 a.m. start of the Jubilee when Grenada Area Chamber of Commerce Director Damon Tipton welcomed visitors, many of them out of towners, coming to get a taste of the fall event.
“This year was one of the biggest crowds we’ve seen at the Jubilee,” Tipton said. “It’s still a great event with many people attending and families with children enjoying themselves. These weren’t just local people either, we had people here from neighboring counties.”
According to Kim McRee, Downtown Jubilee committee member, nearly 80 vendors lined the Square to participate in the event. Arts and crafts, food vendors and corporate vendors set up tents and welcomed the large crowd.
Shannon Cunningham of Grenada set up her floral design tent on the Square and said she was thrilled with the amount of people walking the Square.
“Sure it’s hot, but we’re having fun out here,” she said.
The majority of the crowd took advantage of the food, cool drinks and frozen treats, especially in the hot weather.
“The food is always my favorite part of the Jubilee,” Jerry Flemming of Calhoun City said. “They brought back the Ragin Cajun barbecue family from Canton and I’ve eaten their food since they started coming to the Jubilee a few years back.”
A Great Turnout
Downtown Jubilee committee members said the numbers were some of the best that they have seen in recent years.
“I think this year was a wonderful turnout and everyone seemed to have a good experience,” McRee said. “A lot of the vendors have told us they want to be back for next year’s event.”
McRee said the Jubilee committee estimates that 7,000 people were around for this year’s event, the most in the past few years.
Committee member Nick Liberto spent the morning and afternoon shuffling around assuring that people were hydrated and things ran smoothly.
“It was great to see the number of vendors that came out, and most importantly, it was fun to see people out again. There hasn’t been a lot of festivals these days, but we managed to do it in Grenada.”
Throughout the day, musicians performed under the Gazebo, people shopped with the vendors and tours were given of the Chakchiuma Swamp and Lee Tartt Nature Preserve.
“You can’t say enough about the entertainment and the volunteers,” McRee said.
With the 20th anniversary of 9-11, committee members felt it best to honor area first responders for their duty and service. Local police officers, sheriff’s deputies, fire fighters, medical staff and soldiers with Camp McCain all stood around the center of the square to hear a brief speech from Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville).
“Heroes do exist and they’re behind me right now,” McDaniel said. “Those heroes that ran into those buildings 20 years ago are reminders. Those monuments at Arlington National Cemetery are reminders. Even the sacrifices of those behind me are reminders.”