By Valerie Baldowski
Crowds are gathering this weekend at Nash Farm Park in Hampton to take part in a traditional event, with a decidedly Southern twist.
The annual Simply Southern Jubilee Bluegrass & Bar-B-Que Festival kicked off Friday, and continues through Saturday. A Civil War re-enactment is scheduled for Sunday.
Friday afternoon, the first few visitors began coming through the gates, and choosing picnic tables and chairs from which to wait for the evening's musical entertainment to begin.
Others browsed the arts and crafts booths set up by area vendors, purchased barbecue sandwiches for dinner, and visited the Civil War re-enactor camps set up on one side of the park.
The event attracted visitors from Henry and Clayton counties, as well as festival-goers from other states.
Shortly after the festival began, Jeannie and Jeb Boskey of Jonesboro brought two out-of-town guests. Rebecca Press and her daughter Virginia, both from the state of Virginia, joined the Boskeys for the festivities.
"We like to support anything that's going on down here at Nash Farms," said Jeannie Boskey, whose husband is a Civil War re-enactor for the 30th Georgia Volunteer Infantry.
Although the couple has visited the park several times, Jeannie Boskey said Friday was the first time they attended the barbecue festival. Jeannie said Jeb has participated in re-enactments at Nash Farm in the past.
Rebecca Press, Jeannie and Jeb Boskey's daughter, said she and Virginia were in town while on spring break.
She said she enjoys the chance to visit the park whenever she can.
She said 2-year-old Virginia enjoys the bands.
"We like the idea of music," Rebecca Press said. "She likes to get up and dance, and we figured this would be good for her."
What brought Jeb Boskey to Nash Farm was the opportunity to bring Rebecca back for another visit to the park before she goes home.
"This is our chance to get her outside, and give her another taste of local activities we do around here," said Jeb Boskey.
Although several other members of his Civil War unit were there participating in a Living History exhibit, Jeb Boskey said he decided to take the weekend off to finish his visit with his daughter.
Bill McNamara of Athens, Ala., was there with his wife Dawn, and their daughters Erin, 7, and Maggie, 10.
The family was vacationing in the metro-Atlanta area, explained McNamara, and saw a newspaper advertisement for the festival.
"I thought it sounded like fun, so we drove out here," he said.
One of the biggest attractions for McNamara was the chance to sample the barbecue, although he said the music and other activities are also a plus.
"The bluegrass music sold us on coming out," he said. "We didn't know there was pig racing until we got here."
Sharon and William Grindle, of Jonesboro, stopped by to hear the country and bluegrass music, and enjoy some inexpensive family activities.
"It's a good way to get out and do something for a few hours," Sharon Grindle said. "It doesn't cost a whole lot of money."
Even though the Grindles live close to the park, which is located at 4361 Jonesboro Road, Sharon Grindle said this was their first visit to Nash Farm.