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Blueberry Festival to move

By By MICHELE GERLACH – Publisher
The Blueberry Festival is moving downtown this year.
Ed Livingston, the new president of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce confirmed that the board is acting on a change it has considered for the past few years.
Chamber executive director Judy Crane said work is already underway to make sure the transition from Jefferson Davis Community College to is a smooth one.
To understand how the festival will be laid out, imagine you are standing in the Bank of Brewton's drive-through location. Across the street, just beyond the park's parking lot wall, will be the food court location. The chamber will place picnic tables beyond the food court and under some trees, and the entertainment stage will face the food court. The children's area will be in the park near the Hainje's storage building.
The antique car show will return to the festival and will be held in the parking lot adjacent to the boardwalk. Crane said there will also be a motorcycle rally but the location has yet to be determined.
Chamber officials have already met with police to work out traffic issues, and they have met with food vendors to inform them of the changes. Crane said notices will soon be sent to festival vendors.
Last year, the Chamber noted a drop-off in vendor participation and attendance at the Blueberry Festival. But Crane said most festivals reported low attendance last year, and she also felt the lack of accommodations hindered participation. The Brewton Inn was closed for repairs last year and is slated to open this spring.
The Chamber also is looking for festival sponsors. So far, D.W. McMillan Hospital has agreed to sponsor the stage; BankTrust will sponsor ECATS shuttle service; the blueberry cookbook is being revamped and NDI will sponsor it.
The chamber is still seeking a sponsor for the antique car show and for a train shuttle within the festival area.
JDCC president Dr. Susan McBride said the college considered it a community service to host the festival in the past.