Rocking Around: RockingFest draws big crowd in LaFayette as unofficial start to holiday season

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Downtown Lafayette hosted the fourth annual RockingFest on the Square on Saturday. The event, hosted by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce (GVACC) and the City of Lafayette, saw around 2,000 people and 68 vendors this year.

“It gives everyone a chance to get outside, it’s something for their family that’s affordable,” said Carrie Wood, director of the GVACC. 

The holiday-themed event blocks off LaFayette’s S\square for vendors selling holiday crafts, food and other items. The event is named for its signature attraction, a 30-foot-tall manual rocking horse. Families lined up down the block for a chance to ride the horse, which was operated by a group of volunteers.

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Todd and his daughter Evie Clemens said rocking was the best part of the day. Although Todd’s son, Parker, was emphatic that the rock climbing wall was the winner. 

For many families, RockingFest has become a tradition. 

“We come every year,” said Joanne Timmons. Her husband, Kenyon, and children Nathan and Naomi have been coming from Valley to celebrate since the inaugural RockingFest in 2020.

Despite the fact Naomi had not had her face painted since last year’s event, she was confident it would be her favorite part this year. 

The horse was not the sole entertainment. This year RockingFest had multiple alleged “world’s largest” attractions. Snow-zilla Sr., the world’s largest slide, was a huge hit with the younger attendees. As was the world’s largest snowman, which doubled as a bouncy house. 

The returning attractions, the Everest Climb N Slide, and the ice skating rink were also popular despite the 70-degree sunny day.

Keeping with the holiday theme, Santa and one of his elves made an appearance at noon to take Christmas pictures with the kids. The Grinch crashed the party to do the same, as did a couple of bears; the Coca-Cola Polar Bear mascot and Smokey the Bear. 

This year the “Touch-a-Truck” event had an ambulance, fire engine and sheriff’s truck for attendees to tour. 

Along with the activities were some community resources. The Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center had a tent where medical professionals were giving free COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, as well as information on the center’s services. There were also tents with resources for the state of Alabama’s public and mental health divisions. 

Dale Frazer of the Chattahoochee Humane Society, and her son, Scott, showed off a couple of their adoptable dogs. Romeo and Juliet, brindle and grey-colored mixed breed dogs, happily allowed RockingFest go-ers to pet them.

There was no shortage of food and drinks, with vendors serving everything from barbecue to candies. Some of the food and craft vendors were RockingFest Youth Entrepreneurs. One of these vendors was Kendall “Winnie” Williams, who had a lemonade booth called Winnie’s Lemmie’s.

With the event‘s fourth, and biggest, year under its belt, Wood intends RockingFest to be a LaFayette tradition. 

“It’s just a great day here, and we want to keep it this way. I look forward to many years to come,” Wood said.