If you were at J.F. Gregory Park on Saturday, it will be no great surprise to hear that attendance numbers for this year’s Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival were up this year compared to last. Droves of people poured through entrance gate all day Saturday, letting up only for what amounted to less than an hour of rain showers.
But with live music already coming from the stage, the rain didn’t seem to faze those already enjoying the festival and all it had to offer — loads of fresh seafood, Boy Scout Troop 400’s peach cobbler, the sound of screams and laughter in a whirl speeding carnival rides and the anticipation of national acts Chris Wallace, Drivin’ N Cryin’ and Collective Soul taking the stage.
According to festival organizers, this year’s attendance reached upwards of 30,000 visitors during the three-day festival. While that’s below the festival’s record-breaking year in 2011, when around 35,000 showed up, it’s still a very strong and impressive turnout for what is proving year after year to be a highly anticipated event in Richmond Hill. The Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival draws folks from all over the state who would typically not travel to Bryan County for a Saturday in October.
Aside from just attending the festival, lots of those traveling from out of town stop for gas, stop for lunch or dinner, maybe even get a hotel room for the night. In other words, they spend a whole day spending money in Richmond Hill. And even inside the festival, they likely end up supporting some of our local nonprofit groups, like Troop 400, who use the festival as a major fundraising event.
But none of this could even be possible were it not for the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce and its festival committee of roughly 300 volunteers. They put a lot of sweat — and probably some blood and few tears — into presenting a festival that is fun, exciting, well-organized and better than the last. We tip our hat to the chamber and the committee for another job well done.