TOOMBS COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - It’s the sweetest weekend of the year in Toombs County for the 42nd Annual Vidalia Onion Festival.
The festival hosts events throughout the community for about two weeks.
“We had a lot of different things. We have had a softball tournament, to a children’s parade, to an onion extravaganza where we had a 12-year-old cook for us,” said Andy Woodruff, Festival Chairman-elect.
This week will only get busier. Starting this past Tuesday night, each night a different event was held. Friday night is the big street dance that’s been a tradition for many years. Saturday, around 4 p.m., the concert will start, with Randy Houser headlining.
“People come in to see the concert. They come to ride the rides at the carnival. The variety of events we have is just tremendous, and people love coming here, and we love having them here," said Vidalia City Manager, Nick Overstreet. “It’s very much a family-friendly atmosphere, and everyone coming in makes a huge economic impact for our community.”
Woodruff says each year, they see the festival and crowds grow.
“We probably have 10-15,000 with everything. We will have a lot of different folks, which is good for the hotels and the local businesses here in town that normally don’t see that influx of people spending money."
Overstreet says that helps business not only get customers this weekend, but also throughout the year.
“People who might not usually go into their stores visit them and often times come back," he said.
The crowds and economic boost wouldn’t be possible without the sweet onion, though. The festival is planned around the time the onions are put on the shelves.
“They started on April 22. That was the actual date, and they always do the festival on that date so the onions will be ready and good to go," said Jordie Kight, Herndon Farms.