Face Painting

Face painting artists will be among the more than 120 vendors expected for this year’s Swampfest, scheduled Friday March 31 and Saturday, April 1. 

An expanded Swampfest awaits Waycross and surrounding communities in downtown in two weeks to mark the beginning of spring. 

The 19th annual festival will now encompass a five-block area of downtown to accommodate more than 120 vendors and the event’s related activities. 

“We’ve had to add to the area,” said Paige Taylor, Executive Director of the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce, which stages the two-day bash. “Basically, it’s now all of downtown.” 

The event opens at 5 p.m., Friday, March 31 and concludes following the fireworks show Saturday, April 1. 

In between will be something to grab an attendee’s attention regardless of age or interest. There will be plenty of entertainment, food and beverage, contests, exhibitions, activities and items for sale around the streets of downtown. 

The event has been held annually for the past two decades, save 2020 when it was shelved by the coronavirus pandemic. 

It has gradually expanded since its return in 2021 to the event the community will see this year. 

Among the additions this year is a barbeque contest for youths ages 16-under. Taylor said the Kansas City Barbeque Society, which sponsors the adult cookoff, suggested adding the event. 

“It’s something they do to get the younger generation involved (with cooking competitions),” she said. “It should be fun.” 

The youth portion of the cooking, dubbed “KidsQ” has drawn a dozen entrants while the adult, People’s Choice BBQ Judging Contest will have about three times that many competitors. They will be cooking Saturday afternoon. 

The youths will be provided with a meat and tasked with presenting their version of the dish for judging. Adults will compete in categories for chicken, pork, ribs and brisket. 

More than $10,000 in prizes will be and KCBS points will be awarded. Those interested in judging can email Tim Lively at tdlively@hotmail.com

There also will be eating/drinking contests Saturday afternoon sponsored by Dairy Queen, Coca-Cola and Pizza Inn. 

Although the event’s full schedule has yet to be finalized, most of its major components are set. 

Music begins at 6 p.m. Friday with Whiskey Pig on the main stage at the end of Pendleton Street. The Tams will follow at 8 p.m. with the opening activities closing at the end of that performance around 10 p.m. 

Activities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with registration for the highly popular car show, whose judging is at 11 a.m. and awards at 3 p.m. Barbeque winners will be announced at 5 p.m. with Idle Hands taking the stage at 6 p.m. with music in advance of the famed Swingin’ Medallions at 8 p.m. 

When the music ends, a fireworks show will follow to culminate the festival around 10:30.



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