Despite rain, annual festival rolls on
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 14:09
It rained, a lot, but the 19th Annual Tennessee Soybean Festival kept on going from Aug. 31- Sept. 9 in Martin.
The first festival was held in 1994 and since has become the “largest tourist event in the City of Martin” according to the Tennessee Soybean Festival website.
Every year, the festival offers a wide variety of events that people from all over may attend. This year’s festival offered several concerts along with many vendors and rides.
Saturday night’s headlining concert in Festival Park was Travis Tritt. Bowling For Soup and Grand Funk Railroad, though the weather affected these concerts, also performed in Festival Park.
UTM Student Activities Council hosts the UTM Student Night at the Festival. This year, they were able to bring in Bowling For Soup. Though the concert was delayed due to severe weather, the night still brought out a rather large crowd.
“My favorite thing at the festival was the food. My favorite song Bowling For Soup sang was ‘Almost,’ but the Phineas and Ferb theme song was pretty awesome too. I love that show,” said Brittany Bennett, a Senior Art Education major.
“’1985’ by Bowling For Soup was the best song performed at the Soybean. Also, when they played ‘Stacy’s Mom,’ even though it wasn’t their song, that was awesome,” said Beka Joyner, a Senior Political Science major.
Also, the festival offered something new this year, with the Carson & Barnes Circus kicking off the Soybean Festival on Aug 31. The circus was held at the Martin Recreational Complex and offered attendees the chance to see elephants perform live.
“The circus offered me the ability to do something different in Martin, something out of the ordinary. Getting to see someone ride an elephant, that just doesn’t happen in Martin, TN,” Joyner said.
Another element of the Soybean Festival, the 8th Annual Soybean Talent Contest, stands as a Mid-South Fair Preliminary for contestants in the 9-12 and 13-21 age groups. The top contestants will be advancing to the 2013 Mid-South Fair Talent Show held in Southaven, MS.
The Soybean Festival not only offers events downtown, but all around Martin. The 1st Annual Soybean Softball Showcase, Tennessee Soybean Festival Pageant, Carson & Barnes Circus and several other events were held at locations such as Martin Recreation Complex and the UTM Student Life Center, as well as a few others.
Soybean Festival is more than just an even held downtown. It is a chance for the community to join together for a time of celebration. The Festival is well known brings in a crowd from all over.
“It has a great impact, it brings business to the businesses. You couldn’t even get a room at the hotels this weekend. [It] brings people not from this area to Martin. It brings people from all over. We had people in from Michigan and they really enjoyed the festival. They just like the community atmosphere here in Martin,” said Randy Brundige, Mayor of Martin.
The Tennessee Soybean Festival not only has an economical impact on Martin, but it also brings a sense of pride and community as well.
“So many people work together to ensure the festival is successful. The university, city, businesses, non-profits, all join together [before and during the festival],” said Brad Thompson, Director of Community Development in Martin.
Although economically isn’t the only way that Martin is affected, it certainly should not be pushed to the side.
“We don’t have hard number’s for this year yet, [however] over the past years we’ve seen in local tax [dollars], over $100,000 generated into the city budget. It is projected that for every $1 spent that $54 is made in return,” Thompson said.
“Just a community atmosphere in the downtown area, it brings the whole community together, and we just celebrate a good time together,” Brundige said.