Hummingbird Festival kicked off with weekend 5K

Published 5:30 am Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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On Saturday, about 80 people participated in the Tower Trail 5K race in Hogansville, which began and ended at Hogansville Elementary School. The annual event was a part of the Hogansville Hummingbird Festival, which is a fundraiser for the Hogansville Charitable Trust. Participants ran and walked along the Tower Trail, which led them past historic homes, through downtown and around one of Hogansville’s oldest residential neighborhoods, according to a press release from the Hummingbird Festival Committee.

“It’s a great turn out, a nice day,” Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said. “We have 80 runners, which I think is a record for the race, and it’s kicking off the festival season. We’re just happy that everybody turned out. We’ve got some great runners and some walkers. We’re just happy to be here.”

Sarah Tusing enjoyed cheering on her son, Isaiah Tusing, who was participating in the race for the first time.

“He’s a senior at Lafayette Christian, and he’s been running in cross country his whole [time in] high school,” she said.

The race was easy for Yuri Force, the first person to cross the finish line and Carly Force, his wife, the first woman to cross the finish line. Yuri said he didn’t feel worn out. Amazingly, he and his wife had run that morning before the Hogansville race.

“She ran five, and I ran six,” he said. “We’re from Newnan, so we just did a group run. And then we drove down here.”

“We ran the dogs this morning,” said Carly Force, Yuri’s wife.

Yuri and Carly agreed that the trail was well-marked.

“They did a great job for being well-marked …,” Yuri said. “There were a lot of volunteers every single turn like they said. They were cheering us on.”

“I’m tired. It’s hillier than I expected,” Carly said.

Event volunteer Jason Stewart said the second and third place male winners were Lane Thompson and Rowdie Epps. The second and third place female winners were Janet English and Danilynn Holloway. This event was sponsored by Mack Reynolds Realty.

Presented by the Hogansville Charitable Trust and Piedmont Newnan Hospital, the Hummingbird Festival is held in the historic downtown area on the third weekend in October.

This year it will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival wasn’t held last year due to COVID-19.

“Our vendors are super excited to be coming back,” said Mary Stewart of the festival committee. “It’s a fun outdoor fall festival, and everyone likes different aspects of it – the food, the activities for kids, the entertainment, and seeing old friends.”

The festival weekend will begin on Saturday, Oct. 16 with a pancake breakfast downstairs at First Methodist Church on Main Street from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The annual Student Art Exhibit will be on display upstairs (The awards ceremony will be at noon.). Outside, over 200 vendors will have booths set up throughout the downtown area, offering a wide variety of arts and crafts.  A large food court will offer southern favorites as well as international treats, sweets, and baked goods. A grassy area will feature children’s rides and activities. The festival will continue on Sunday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Main Street shops will be open both days, as will downtown restaurants. Many merchants will offer festival specials. Parking can be tight, and shuttles will be provided free of charge to improve access. Most parking will be free, but some citizens charge for parking on private property.

Proceeds from the 5K and other events will benefit the Hogansville Charitable Trust, a non-profit organization created for the purpose of renovating and preserving historic and municipal properties in and around the city. Funds generated by the Trust over the years have been donated to the City of Hogansville and have been matched by federal and state grants, resulting in over $3 million in city improvements.

For more information or to volunteer at this year’s festival, call the festival headquarters at (706) 333-2520.