Organizers: Grease Festival fun for whole family

Leading a group of organizers and volunteers, Thea Hamlin rides in a mule-drawn chariot in September 2012 as part of the opening ceremony of the inaugural Athens Grease Festival on the Square. Organizers say this year's event, set for Oct. 19, will offer the same family-friendly entertainment as past events, including a Kids Zone.

The Athens Grease Festival is on for next Saturday, and organizers with Athens Main Street say there will be plenty of activities for attendees of all ages, especially youngsters.

In addition to a plethora of food options from food trucks and vendors, Athens State University is sponsoring a Kids Zone, which will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The attraction will feature an inflatable obstacle course, basketball toss, arts and crafts and carnival games.

A press release about the event said kids and adults alike love the festival's “quirky” games and contests, which will be scheduled throughout the day. There will be youth and adult divisions in each contest.

At 12:30 p.m., a toga contest will be held. At 1:45 p.m., there will be a frozen turkey toss, followed by the Dub's burger-eating contest at 2:45 p.m.

At 3:45 p.m., there will be a football toss to test how many footballs can be tossed at a target in 15 seconds. Contest winners will receive $50 in Toga Bucks, which can be spent in downtown shops and restaurants.

Live music will be provided by Lamont Landers, who has appeared on the nationally syndicated “Showtime at the Apollo.” Other artists include The Redeemers, Trippin' Dixie, Kaleidoscope, Lindsey Hinkle, Seeking Babylon and The Prescriptions. The East Limestone marching band will perform at the opening of the parade.

This will also be the first year the festival is offering beer and wine. Those wishing to imbibe while munching on funnel cakes or fried pies will be contained to the Marion Street side of The Square. Athens Main Street Director Tere Richardson said volunteers would be diligently checking ages of attendees and off-duty police officers would be providing security.

The Athens Grease Festival is set for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 19 in downtown Athens. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children, but those dressed in a toga will receive $1 off admission. Children under 2 will be admitted free.

Proceeds benefit Athens Main Street, which supports downtown revitalization efforts. Visit www.facebook.com/AthensGreaseFestival for more information.

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