Attendance up 50 percent since 2007, says director
The house was packed for the Saturday evening performance by the Lonesome River Band. GrassBackardz and Thomas Fountain also performed on Saturday, as well as contestants who entered the Georgia State Bluegrass Championship on both Saturday and Sunday. Flatline took home $1,000 for best bluegrass band.
According to Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Denise Duncan, this year’s Georgia Marble Festival was the best to-date with record-breaking crowds exceeding 10,000.
“This was definitely one of the best,” Duncan said. “In my seven years organizing it this was probably the least chaotic and I’ve had people tell me the best organized. It went very smoothly and we had much more attendance.”
Duncan said this year’s Saturday attendance was nearly as much as last year’s attendance for the entire weekend. Last year the Marble Festival drew 7,985 people in total, with this past Saturday’s crowd totaling 7,710.
“And that’s not including vendors and volunteers,” she said.
Gross profits, she said, were up 11 percent over last year.
Duncan credits good weather and dedicated volunteers who “helped get the word out.”
“We also heard from vendors that they did well,” she said. “We had a lot of new vendors this year and I saw a lot of people walking out with things they had purchased. And this year we let our sponsors have booths on the grounds and that provided a benefit for them.”
Duncan reported a large crowd for Saturday entertainment at the main stage at Lee Newton Park, where a performance from the Lonesome River Band capped off day one of the Georgia State Bluegrass Championship. She also reported steady attendance at the kid’s stage in the parking lot, which was expanded to both Saturday and Sunday this year and “one of the largest parades we’ve had.”