RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The 2021 Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival date and location was approved Tuesday night by Richmond Hill City Council.
The Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s request to use J.F. Gregory Park for the festival the weekend of Oct. 15-17 was approved without any opposition from council during the meeting.
Council also approved the Chamber’s request to sell beer and wine at the festival on Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16. No alcohol will be sold at the festival on Sunday.
Organizers say while they wait to see whether it’ll happen this year, they still want to start preparing because it takes a long time to plan.
“We have vendors, we have carnival, we have entertainment, so it takes a very long time for us to get everything together in order to make it possible,” Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Kathryn Johnson said.
Johnson says not only did they get permission to use the park, but they also got permission to sell beer and wine. Johnson says they needed this permission to begin working with other contracts and things necessary for the festival because, if it happens, they can’t wait until last minute to do so.
“Our vendors spend a lot of money and a lot of resources planning for this, so we don’t want to wait too late to cost them more money,” Johnson said.
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter says before approving it, council wanted to make sure the chamber would be working in compliance with the state and city’s safety guidelines.
“There was one condition, that it was conditional on any governor’s orders,” Mayor Carpenter said.
The festival is the chamber’s biggest fundraiser. It’s also where a lot of local businesses and nonprofits raise their money for the year.
“It’s always a very, very difficult and heart-wrenching decision, especially after last year, of whether or not we can do it because we want to make sure we’re making the right decision for the community,” Johnson said.
Johnson says the Board of Directors for RHBC set a date for June to make the final call.
“It’s a great economic impact for our hotels, restaurants and so forth and it’s become a part of Richmond Hill. It’s the largest even that we have in our city.”
Johnson says the chamber asks for people to be patient during this time and says if people are interested in being a vendor or sponsor, they can call them to be put on the list that way they’ll know the decision that is made immediately.