The 32nd annual Long County Fall Wildlife Festival drew a crowd Saturday to its site off Darwell Long Road. Beautiful weather made the day’s festivities especially enjoyable for patrons of all ages.
Attractions for children included horse and train rides, a playground sand pit, basketball toss, fishing pond, an inflatable play land, sling shots and a pig chase. Older patrons took advantage of an archery and BB-gun range, a turkey shoot, corn hole tournament, karaoke and crafts. The festival, which ran from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., offered plenty of food, including barbecue, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, sausages and more.
The Citizen of the Year Award was given posthumously to the late Harriette Simmons, who was one of the festival’s founders in 1982, according to event organizer Becky Fowler. She said that Simmons, along with several other farmi families, sponsored those early festivals at the James Davis Farm and Rye Patch Church. Fowler said the festival was held at several different sites until its current site was purchased in 1989.
The Long County Wildlife Festival committee hosts an annual softball game to benefit Relay for Life, participates in the Smiley Elementary School Trunk-or-Treat event, the Walker Middle School Fall Festival and many other community events. Fowler said the committee supports the schools, local businesses and other local organizations.
“We had some really good helpers this year … I appreciate all of what they did and, as always, I’m thankful for everyone who came out today to be a part of the festival,” Fowler said.
Long County Commissioner Dwight Gordon, who also attended the festival, said he thinks it is something that both the local and surrounding communities can enjoy.
“I love to come out every year because it is a day when you get to see just about everyone in Long County. But when I look around, as it grows, I’m seeing more and more people who I don’t know, who appear to be from other counties, and that’s good, ” Gordon said.