3,000+ attend 15th annual OppFest over weekend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Estimated attendance at the 15th annual OppFest more than 3,000 area residents, and the event was considered a huge success, despite a few hiccups.

“This was the best OppFest we’ve had in 15 years,” Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) Chairperson Tommie Norris said. “We did really well and all the vendors were tickled with it.”

Norris said more than 60 vendors brought their merchandise to the event and some came from as far as Tuscaloosa.

According to Pam Potter, also a DRA member, vendors showcased an assortment of handmade jewelry, mosaic pictures, T-shirts and even beef jerky.

Joey Sanderson with D&W Beef Jerky in Newton attended the festival and said this was his third year at OppFest, but sales were down.

“Our sales were about half of what we did last year,” Sanderson said. “But everyone I’ve talked to said it has been the same way for them.

“I’ve worked the Enterprise Fest and the Claybank Jamboree in Ozark this year, and everywhere I’ve worked profits have been down; probably because of the economy,” he said.


The carnival, new this year to OppFest, was a big moneymaker during the festival, although there was confusion about the need for two different armbands during Saturday’s events.


Signs were posted when the issue was addressed with Norris and he said he wished the fair owners had stated their intentions to charge for different times.

“This is our first year and it was a learning experience,” Norris said.

Norris said the fair was contracted out and he had no control over the prices or wristbands.

Despite the issues with the armbands, many people posted on Facebook, including Brundidge, that “it wasn’t the fault of the city or DRA.”

Brundidge said she did purchase more armbands for her children although she was charged again.

Many attendees enjoyed the carnival and thought it a huge success.

Sanderson said he took his wife and three children to enjoy the fair on Friday night.

“We stayed out until 9:30 or 10 p.m., and had dinner with the vendors there,” Sanderson said.

Potter said that DRA received many compliments on the carnival and were asked numerous times to host it again next year.

Additionally, Norris said the live entertainment brought out a large crowd.

“The local talent Danielle Wilson, Ethan King and Hunter Linzey drew a lot of the crowd,” he said. “E-Town Boyz rocked out and were the crowd favorites.”