Festival Mania!
by Ed Williams

What’s the big deal with festivals these days?

I mean it, why are there so many festivals now? Used to, you would hear about an occasional festival here and there, for example, there might be a watermelon festival down in south Georgia somewhere, or there might be a rattlesnake round-up over in Alabama, or whatever. These events came very few and far between, and they were a fairly big deal mostly for that reason.

Contrast that to the present - everyone has a festival going on these days. Why just recently I took a look around central Georgia, and it’s amazing how many of them are being held. All I can say is that they must bring the money in, because some of them border on the almost absurd. You can almost sense that some civic group got together and decided, “Hey, we need to bring in a few bucks for our city or county coffers, so what better way to do it than to put on our first ever Dead Possum Festival!”

Maybe I’m being too harsh, though. Hey, if festivals bring in tourists and money, who am I to complain? We live in a capitalist economy, I’m proud each and every day that we do, so we can vote for whatever we desire with our dollars and cents. It’s a simple, beautiful system. And, in that spirit, I think I’m going to suggest some potential festivals for any interested cities or towns out there, some that should be immediately taken into consideration, and some that I have no doubt would bring in tens of thousands of dollars for whatever community puts them on:

1. “The Sunburned Chest Festival” - What better way to pull a big crowd than to announce a festival with its main event being a contest - a contest between female entrants to see whose chest is the most sunburned. Of course, the judges would have to make a comparison between the contestants’ burned and non-burned skin, and that alone would constitute the major draw for this particular festival. And, as y’all might guess, you’d have thousands of male attendees, and sales for items like sunglasses, beer, and disposable cameras would skyrocket.

2. “The Bring In Martha Stewart On The Day Of A Big Ball Game Festival” - Now this wouldn’t come cheap, as Martha probably charges a hefty fee to make a personal appearance, but it would be well worth the expense. Schedule her in on the day of the Super Bowl, for example, and put her in a large auditorium to make a speech. Ticket sales would go through the roof as most of the women in the area would show up to hear whatever Martha has to say. The men in the area would then purchase much more beer, cigars, chips, dips, and other sports related food items as they would know they could enjoy them in complete peace while the game is going on. It’s a “can’t miss” strategy, Martha pulls in the women, the men buy more food, everyone involved benefits.

3. “Butts County, Georgia” - Oh man, there’s so much I could do with this, I can think of about ten thousand plus potential festival ideas for this county and then some. Unfortunately, my editors won’t print about 9,999 of them, so I’ll just wistfully think of what might have been...

4. “The Perry Como Impersonators Festival” - This is actually sort of a “festival in reverse” type idea, because if this was actually held most of the area’s population would quickly go someplace else for a couple of days. And hey, that might not be a bad thing if a community had civic projects they needed to do like spray for mosquitoes, fix some large sewer drainage problems, or whatever. The festival planners could work out a deal with the surrounding communities to get a cut of their motel and restaurant revenues while the Perry C. festival is going on, so everyone involved comes out a winner.

I could go on and list even more festival ideas, but these that I’ve listed should be enough to get the ball rolling. In a really noble gesture on my part, I will claim no copyright for these ideas, so if anyone out there really wants to use any of them they can free of charge. Now, with all that having been said, if some community out there really considers putting on a “Sunburned Chest Festival,” I think that the least y’all could do would be to invite me to be one of the judges for the main event, after all, fair is only fair...

About the Author
Ed’s latest book, “Rough As A Cob,“ can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. He’s also a popular after dinner speaker, and his column runs in a number of Southeastern publications. You can contact him via email at: ed3@ed-williams.com, or through his web site address at: www.ed-williams.com.

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