Excitement is mounting in Caledonia. With just days until the Ninth Annual Caledonia Day is in full swing, organizers, vendors and volunteers are scrambling to make this year’s festival is the best yet.
Caledonia Day, which is now a two-day event, started as a centennial celebration to mark 100 years of the town’s incorporation. “It started out as a birthday party for the town, but people liked it so much we had to keep doing it,” said Committee Member Duane Perkins.
“ This year it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before,” said Committee Co-Chair Susan Bell. “We have more concerts this year, more vendors, it’s very exciting.”
According to Bell, last year Caledonia Day attracted over 1200 people on Friday and over 6000 people on Saturday. “We ran out of bracelets around 1 p.m. last year,” she said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
This is the second year of the festival being two days, and organizers are still happily adding more and more events. This year’s events will kick off with Kelsey Collins at 6 p.m. on Friday in Ola J. Pickett Park. Big Ben Atkins and Cole Cole Heart will follow at 7 p.m. There will also be a fireworks show sponsored by Midsouth Fireworks during the band’s break.
Perkins said that Friday night concert-goers should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, but the show is free for all attending.
Events on Saturday will start with opening ceremonies and a 5K Fun Run at 8 a.m. As the day continues, there will be a pet parade, a bow shoot sponsored by 4H, lawnmower races, a motorcycle dice run and more.
The pet parade is a crowd favorite according to Bell. “It’s going to be super huge,” she said. “The event will be from 9-10 a.m. and Mother Goose will lead the parade.” Approximately 150 pets participated last year, and Bell expects this year’s crowd to be even bigger. The Columbus Lowndes Humane Society will be attending with animals for adoption and Golden Triangle Horse Rescue will be on hand with some of their horses. They will be educating the public about the recent epidemic of horse abuse and neglect in the tri-county area.
The dice run is a new event, which will have motorcyclists race through three sites, and roll dice at each. The run will take approximately two hours and will run through Dwayne Hayes Rec Center, Lake Lowndes State Park and Lamar County Lake. Prizes will be awarded to high and low rollers and the participants’ bikes will be available to view after the race at Caledonia Elementary School.
“We have some really wonderful people who ride motorcycles in Caledonia,” said Bell. She said the committee also hopes to attract motorcyclists from surrounding areas with the run.
In addition to local talent like JKS Dance Studio’s dance team, Kayla Dalton and Chase Harper, Wade Egger and the New Salem Praise Band, Cash Box will be playing at 2 p.m. at the downtown Main St. Stage.
One event, the lawnmower races, which includes categories for push mower, riding mower and a modified class, was almost cut this year.
Bell said it’s a favorite event of hers and she won it the very first year they put it on, but that many people don’t make it back down to the park once they’re downtown.
“There were so many upset people (when they heard) we couldn’t do it,” she said.
This is also the first year for the bow and arrow shoot sponsored by the 4H. It will take place in the park at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Co-Chair Jane Kilgore said to expect to see more than 140 vendor booths including crafts and food booths. “We have lots of vendors coming from out of town that are new to the area. It’s definitely helping the local economy.”
There will also be plenty of staffed assistance on hand in case of any special needs. “We want to make sure that people know there will be handicapped parking, shuttle golf carts, and a first aid stand,” said Perkins.
For more information about Caledonia Day, call Caledonia Town Hall at 662-356-4117.0