Chamber changes festival name, sets June date

By BRENT MAZE,

The Union Chamber of Commerce has announced plans to host a new festival for the City of Union this Father’s Day weekend.

At a recent meeting, the chamber’s board of directors approved scheduling the inaugural Union Day on June 16 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Union Chamber President Sherry Harrison said the whole chamber board has been unified in launching the new festival after plans to hold last year’s Country Day fell through at the last minute.

“Everyone has been excited about the new event,” Harrison said. “We have a lot of work between now and then, but I think everyone is committed to make this a successful event. Sometimes, when you have a much shorter window of time to plan an event, everyone really can come together and focus on what we must do, and I think our community will rally around our new festival.”

One of the main reasons why the board decided to try June opposed to the final weekend in August was the weather and the fact that school has already been in for nearly a month.

“That’s been one of the biggest complaints that we’ve had is that it’s so hot in August,” Harrison said. “I think that kept a lot of folks away at times. It’s not quite as hot in June and hopefully the weather is a little better. And when we started Country Day in the 1970s, school didn’t start until after Labor Day, and they weren’t playing football games so early. It’s hard for families with band members, cheerleaders and football players because they might not get back from a football game until 11 or 12 that Friday night and then are back up here by 8 a.m. the next day. With it being in June, we won’t have to worry about any of that.”

Harrison hopes that the new date will also attract a lot more vendors.

“As far as we can tell, we’re the only festival on June 16,” Harrison said. “There is one event in Meridian going on that weekend, but they won’t likely attract the same kind of vendors we’re looking for. In fact, those folks will be in town looking for something to do. So I think it could help us in the long run.”

Some of the Country Day activities will continue, such as the annual Union Day pageant and country and gospel music singing. However, the events will be all on one day as opposed to spread out over a week.

One thing that will continue is the family reunions.

“Country Day used to be the day that a lot of families would get together for family reunions,” Harrison said. “My hope is that they’ll continue to do that with Union Day. And with it being on Father’s Day weekend, we might have a lot of people coming back into town. So we’re hoping for a big, successful event.”

Vendor applications can be obtained by emailing udbeth2018@yahoo.com.