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Nash Farm barbecue festival canceled

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

The Nash Bash Riffs and Ribs Festival, initially scheduled for May 22 at Nash Farm Park in Hampton, has been canceled, organizers said.

The announcement was made by the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department and the Henry County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"The decision was made due to the difficult economy, which has hindered efforts to secure sponsors for the event," Henry County Communications Director Julie Hoover-Ernst said in a statement.

Henry County pulled the plug on the festival because more money was needed to organize activities, said County Manager James "Butch" Sanders.

"We want to ensure that any event we put on in our community is of the highest quality, and we just did not feel like we could produce an event of the caliber we envision without sponsors to assist us in that endeavor," Sanders said. "Our desire for the future is to secure well-known entertainment and substantial sponsorships that will allow us to produce the kind of event that will be highly anticipated among our local families and a tourism draw for our community. We want to have a quality product and give it every opportunity for success."

The county manager said the number of sponsors needed to put on the festival depended on the dollar amount of each sponsorship. "Our budget was somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $13,000," Sanders said.

He said organizers of the event realized there was a problem "over the past month when sponsorships were slow in coming in."

Grillers and cooks for the barbecue festival were also slow to sign up, Sanders added.

Hoover-Ernst said the festival will be rescheduled for spring 2011.

"We can come back stronger again next year," said Sanders.