First ValleyFest Draws Crowds

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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VALLEY — A rainy day on Friday extended into Saturday morning, but the weather system had moved out by noon, bringing sunny skies and fair weather. It made for a good turnout for the first-ever ValleyFest.

“We were pleased with the turnout,” said organizer Sara Crutchfield. “Some of our vendors and food trucks canceled out due to the weather, and we understand that, but we are pleased everything else went as it did. We turned a profit, and we will be making donations to the Chattahoochee Humane Society, the Chambers County Circle of Care, the Kiwanis Club of Valley, and the City of Valley.”

Live entertainment took place at the Sportsplex Amphitheatre and on a professional stage that was bought in for the event. A number of people brought their lawn chairs and enjoyed the sunny afternoon despite some windy conditions.

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“We couldn’t control the wind,” Crutchfield said, “but it wasn’t much of a problem for most people. I do want to thank the vendors who were there, and all of the performers we had on stage. I especially want to thank local people who turned out to be part of our first ValleyFest. The volunteers were great. I want to thank my pastor, Kevin Anglin of the Fairfax Baptist Church, for helping us. Ellen Emfinger brought a lot of students from Valley High and they were of great help. I had family coming here all the way from Tennessee and they helped out a lot. It takes a lot of people working together to get something like this to take place. There will always be obstacles to overcome. Having a good group of volunteers goes a long way in getting that done. It played a big part in making ValleyFest as smooth as it was, We definitely want to thank Mayor Leonard Riley and members of the city council for allowing us to have the event at the Sportsplex. We also want to thank Valley Police Department officers and our private security firm for helping us with security.”

Crutchfield said that the first ValleyFest was a valuable learning experience that will help The Valley Local nonprofit in planning for future events. 

“We definitely want to have another ValleyFest next spring,” she said. “We may do it a little later in the year. We will make adjustments until we get it just right. The Chambers County School System was on spring break, and a lot of the teachers and students were out of town.”

The Circle of Care had a booth set up on the Sportsplex parking lot. Adrian Carpenter, Amanda Dingler, Kayli Watts, K’nesia Jones and Jacky Escobedo talked to those coming by their booth about what the Circle of Care does to help families in need of their services.

A row of motorcycles was set up next to the booth manned by members of the Mount Cheaha Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). Chapter President Terry Whaley distributed literature about BACA and what members of the organization are attempting to do on behalf of children.

Rick and Karen Lanier were busy cooking hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings, fries and tots in their food truck for the crowds that were coming throughout the afternoon and early evening. Sunel Merchant of Auburn was serving cheesesteak sandwiches from the Philly Connection food truck. Other food trucks were serving cheesecake, sweet treats, kettle corn and all kinds of sandwiches.

The Dauro’s Kitchen food truck was serving Cajun-style food such as roast beef, fried shrimp and catfish po’ boy sandwiches, muffuletta, fried green tomatoes and bread pudding.

Their entrees included cups of chicken and sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp and catfish plates, and Creole chicken tender plates.

Sara and her husband T.J. Crutchfield along with Todd Allen, Ashley Beck and Jake Key are members of The Valley Local, a small nonprofit with the mission of bridging the gap between small businesses and local consumers while building a pillar of the community can rely on. The focus of the organization is to help bring family fun, togetherness and empowerment within the hearts of local people while spotlighting the need for support and awareness around our neighborhoods, local businesses and other nonprofits.