Sponsored by the McDonough Lion’s Club and local businesses, the festival offers arts and crafts, food and children’s activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Co-chair Ed Galbreath said the festival has grown significantly – to over 25,000 attendees – since its humble beginnings in 1977. “The population of the county has really increased since the beginning of the Geranium Festival and although we no longer have a small number of booths and participants, the festival still has a small-town feel,” he said.
What makes the event special, Galbreath said, is attendance is free and creativity and craftsmanship are encouraged. “We offer free parking, free shuttle rides to the festival area and free admission, which makes this an event the entire family can enjoy,” he said. “Plus, if attendees are looking to buy something special, we make sure that all of our vendors sell products that are handmade.”
As a result, about 300 homemade crafts and food vendors will set up booths on the Square and on Macon, Jonesboro and Keys Ferry streets.
Even the event T-shirt is a product of the two-way partnership between attendees and organizers.
“We used the contest to encourage the community to help design something to represent the festival,” said co-chair Rick Berry.
The McDonough Arts Council chose the winning design, submitted by 15-year-old Jennifer Curra of Locust Grove High School and incorporating the event’s iconic flower, out of 78 entries. New to this year’s festival is an interactive app that can be downloaded onto a smart phone by searching for The Geranium Festival in the app store.
“We’re really encouraging everyone to download the festival app because it’s quick, easy, free and features a lot of information,” Galbreath said.
The app can help users find vendors by category, name or location, upload photos and remember where they parked.
Galbreath and Berry said student volunteerism is also at an all-time high for the festival.
“We have about 100 various student volunteers this year which, I think, speaks to how fun the event is for every one of all ages,” Berry said. “It’s really a great chance to see what the community has to offer.”