HOUSTON – The annual Fall Flywheel Festival was held at Joe Brigance Park in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 28.
According to Chickasaw Development Foundation Director Sean Johnson, there was an increase in both attendance and vendors from the 2018 Fall Flywheel Festival. He said that the Fall Festival is usually the smaller of the two, so it would not be fair to compare the fall to this past spring.
“The Fall Flywheel is traditionally the smaller of the two festivals, so we should compare this festival to the 2018 Fall Festival...doing so would show that we were up in attendance and vendors,” said Johnson.
“Fall festivals are difficult for a number of reasons, including competition with SEC Football (we were lucky this year as both State and Ole Miss had away games), and competition with other festivals. For instance, we lost several vendors to the Grenada Downtown Festival in Grenada and others to Mule Day over in Alabama. But again, our numbers were up in both regards.”
He mentioned that many of the vendors were there for the first time.
“This year we had a 35 percent increase in the number of vendors, with several coming for the first time,” he said. “The new vendors were mostly makers of their own crafts which was a big plus.”
There were also some candidates from the upcoming election who spoke to the crowds. There was a decent turnout for the political speaking; many of the benches were full or almost full.
There was also live music. Festivalgoers were treated to some bluegrass from both acts that performed. First up was the Grass Skirts, who are new to the Flywheel. Danny Watkins and the Mountain View Connection, who were returning from the Spring 2019 Flywheel, followed them.
Perhaps one of the biggest pulls of the festival seemed to be the food. People lined up left and right to get their funnel cakes and lemonade. There were several food vendors set up, but the types of food seemed to fall largely into two categories. One category was Carnival/fair food such as funnel cakes, nachos, corndogs, etc., and the other category was barbeque. There were several vendors selling barbeque items such as pulled pork sandwiches, brisket and even a concoction called the “BBQ Sundae.”
There were also the traditional aspects of the Flywheel that people have come to know and love, such as the anvil shoot, tractor displays, etc.
Johnson believes that the Flywheel Festival is an event that can become a major area event with the proper treatment.
“The Flywheel Festival is a unique festival to North Mississippi and has the potential to become a large regional event,” he said. “Both the spring and fall festivals have had substantial increases in attendance and market size this past year and we believe that with the right programming and publicity, these numbers will continue to grow.”