The festival began Friday night with some of the largest crowds seen in many years.
“I think Friday night was great. It was as large of a crowd that I’ve seen. I think by the time the football games got out, it was wall-to-wall with people,” said Judson Thigpen, executive director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.
Saturday also had a nice turn out but the afternoon storm forced festival workers to shut down earlier than expected.
“Saturday was pretty good but the rain started to drive people away,” said Thigpen. “With the lightening, we decided to start shutting things down. It was O.K. though because by noon, most people have made the majority of their sales.
“Everything went really smooth,” said Thigpen, “but we were at the mercy of the weather. It’s the first Saturday with rain I remember in a long time.”
The barbecue contest, hosted by Memphis Barbecue Network, also went well with 60 teams competing. The team “Boars Night Out” won the title of grand champion for their ribs.
This year’s festival also included more arts and crafts vendors.
Chair of arts and crafts Anne Dilworth had to readjust the map in order to include all of the vendors.
“It didn’t cause any problems,” explained Thigpen. “It was just something we hadn’t had to do before. We tried to keep everything as close to the walking trail as possible and we made an extra row in order to fit them all.”
Aside from the weather on Saturday, Thigpen was confident that this year’s Octoberfest was a success and has high hopes for future festivals.
“I think it was another great community event,” said Thigpen, “and we look forward to doing it again next year.”