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After the announcement last year that the Catfish Festival would not return, the city of Hardeeville is looking forward to a new weekend festival to hold. The Catfish Festival had been part of the community for 43 years.
The new event will be known as Hardeeville’s Festival on Main and is set to be held at the Richard Gray Sports Complex off of Main Street on Nov. 1, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The festival will be open to all ages with traditional events such as rides, inflatables, family entertainment, food vendors, crafts and several bands. The Swingin’ Medallions are slated to be one of the bands to perform.
“Although we can’t ever replace the Catfish Festival, the city has adopted as a goal for this year to produce a large-scale city festival,” Hardeeville Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Jennifer Combs said.
The Catfish Festival began in 1974 and had been held each September until last year. This year’s event hopes to attract people from throughout the county, Combs said.
“Our goal is to bring as much as Jasper County and beyond together in this event and provide an array of family entertainment to be enjoyed those two days in November,” Combs said. “Bringing more people to our city is always a priority and we hope this event will continue every year, gaining more and more support in aiding us in reaching our goal of more tourists to our area.”
To help fund the new event, the city had applied for state A-tax funding, she said. During the May 2 meeting of the Hardeeville City Council, council unanimously approved a $72,620 request for funds.
“I am thankful that we have moved forward,” Mayor Pro Tem John Carroll said during the meeting. “I have been told that people wanted something similar to what we had before to be brought back. She (Combs) has worked hard along with the committee members and I am just grateful we are bringing it back.”
Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams said he realized just how huge of a responsibility it was for the recreation department to take on in addition to the department’s other responsibilities.
“Thank you for taking it on and we look forward to it coming back this fall,” Williams said.
Combs said the city had been in the planning process for the new festival since last November and is now in the final planning stages.
“We have a committee and subcommittees that we welcome residents to be a part of,” she said. “We are also seeking volunteers for the days of the event to help with logistics, shirt sales, check-in and parking and other areas. This event will take our community coming together to be successful and all volunteers are welcome.”
Combs said anyone interested in being a part of a subcommittee should contact her at email@example.com.
She said the city is seeking vendors for crafts, food trucks and car/truck/motorcycle groups to participate in a car show.