Another street has been added as a venue to accommodate additional vendors scheduled for next month’s Carrollton’s Mayfest.
“We are definitely a lot bigger,” said Carrollton Main Street Director Scott Ballentine, who will be moving into a new position with the city following the festival. “We are using the Presbyterian Street for the first time and it is because we need to accommodate all the vendors we’ve added. This will also help us create a circular path for the pedestrian traffic. So if you choose to walk down Bradley Street, that will take you back to the parking lot where La Trattoria is. Down there for the past few years, they’ve done inflatable rides, a mini-bar and all of that, and it’s been a success so this year we have more vendors and that was a great way to extend it.”
Last year, Ballentine said, there were about 80 vendors in total. This year, more than 175 have purchased booth spaces, which start at $80.
“We have really a mix of everything,” said Ballentine. “Many of them are returning vendors and we’ve got lots of soap and jewelry vendors and a fair number of nonprofit organizations. The local Artist Guild has their own tent this year and they are selling items there that will support the guild.”
Ballentine said Mayfest has been the signature event to open the downtown district for summer activities, taking place annually on the first Saturday in May. It is one of two major fundraisers for the Main Street program. The other is Taste of Carrollton.
Activities at the Amp this summer will include the films “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “Pete’s Dragon” and “Finding Dory.”
The concert series includes performances by Drivin’ N Cryin’, Steep Canyon Rangers, Everclear, and Lonestar.
Ballentine said such events provide examples to show just how much downtown Carrollton is growing.
“Mayfest is one of those multifaceted events in lots of ways,” said Ballentine. “It raises funds for us and also for the vendors. That, in turn, drives the economy and shows the residents that we have a great downtown event area. Lots of times, people forget what it’s like downtown, and here, we are proud to have a safe, clean and beautiful environment that promotes the city of Carrollton and that makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Ballentine said putting on such events is a team effort and with the help of officers like Sgt. Brad Easterwood helping with the flow of traffic, they have been a little more cognizant of the areas to barricade.
“It’s about making sure the communication is very clear and the barricades are put out in a fashion to maintain the safety of the public,” said Ballentine. “Easterwood heads that division and offers us suggestions on how to continue to do things even better. Crowd control is always a challenge at these kind of things because of the sheer number of people who come out. But it has never been problematic in the sense that we have always had ample restroom facilities, food vendors, washing stations for hands and even different areas to park.”
One of the joys of Mayfest for Ballentine is the Teen Idol singing contest which continues to be a crowd pleaser. Over 30 teenagers from Carrollton, Bremen and Mount Zion participated in the preliminary judging at the Cultural Arts Center where a jury narrowed it down to 10 finalists who will perform at Mayfest.
This year’s Mayfest will be bittersweet for Ballentine, who will be leaving Main Street in the second week of May to take up a position with the city’s Public Works Department.
Ballentine had worked with Main Street prior to being named its director last summer. City officials commended him for the job he’s done guiding the program and assisting both the merchants and visitors in downtown.
During his tenure, Ballentine is credited with taking the Carrollton Main Street Program from a probationary status with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to full accreditation. He also continued to develop new programming for the downtown, most notably the city’s first Blues Festival.
“He will be greatly missed by both Main Street and the Community Development Department,” the city said in a prepared statement. “However, we are excited that he will remain within the City of Carrollton family and get the opportunity to utilize his 10 plus years of mechanical experience in his new position as the Purchasing and Inventory Coordinator with the Public Works Department.”
“It has been a wonderful experience,” said Ballentine. “I’m thrilled the city provided me the opportunity and I’ve done the absolute best to serve. I have seen some success while I was director and will now move on to other things.”