By JOHN SCOTT COOPER, Staff Writer
Music is a huge attraction for many people who come to SwampFest each year, and for the first several years, the top drawing card was the Swingin’ Medallions who always put an exclamation mark on two days of fun.
SwampFest this year is Friday and Saturday. And back on Saturday at 8 p.m. will be the iconic party band that causes hands to clap and feet to move with beach music, especially the group’s most famous song, “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love).”
The concluding concert — and the 9:45 p.m. fireworks — will be the culmination of a long day of family fun that will begin at 9 a.m.
The festival actually begins at 5 p.m. Friday. The evening will be filled with music by the Greg Hester Band (6 p.m.) and The Tams (8 p.m.) The SwampFest Beauty Pageant winners will be introduced and classic automobiles from the April Fools Rod Run will cruise in and park along Plant Avenue where festival-goers may get a good look at them — while the car owners partake of the festival fun.
The South Carolina-based Swingin’ Medallions are noted for performing a high energy show with lots of rockin’ oldies played on the guitar, keyboard, bass, drums and brass ensemble.
During Saturday afternoon, other performers get to entertain the festival-goers from the Phoenix Park stage: DJ Dance Hour at 1 p.m., the Red Shed Band at 2 and the Bo Henry Band at 6.
Folks who come to soak up a day of fun Saturday will have three opportunities to catch a new SwampFest show, the Flippenout Extreme Trampoline Show (1, 3 and 5 p.m.). Who knows, maybe the performers will break the record for the highest jump they set live on the Today show.
Another new vendor is bringing a helicopter and will give folks five-minute rides for $25 each. The helicopter will carry three passengers at a time and will take off and land at a location on Parker Street near Plant Avenue.
New for children this year will be the zippy pets, paddle board and small amusement rides. Rides for the entire family will include a 300-foot zip line, bounce houses, train rides, Spider Mountain, a slide, pony rides, hamster balls, a rock wall, bungee jump and more.
Saturday’s excitement will start at 9 a.m. and won’t stop until 10 p.m.
Guests may watch the Fusion Dance Company (10:30 a.m.), Cruzin Line Dancer (11 a.m.) and Line Dance Fever (11:30).
Anyone want to participate in the entertainment? Three competitions are planned: Dilly Bar eating (noon), Coca-Cola Chug (12:15 p.m.) and Krystal eating (12:30). Local folks may start registering at 10 a.m. to compete, entertain their friends and maybe win a prize.
After an absence of two years, the feature musical act makes its return to Swampfest at 8 o’clock to present the usual big show — but that’s not the end of the day.
Fireworks will light up the night sky at 9:45 p.m. to bring the festival to an end at 10.
Effective Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 7 a.m., Plant Avenue will be closed to through traffic west of Carswell Avenue until midnight. Through-traffic will detour via Memorial Drive and South Georgia Parkway.
On Friday at from 2 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. several streets downtown will be closed for the SwampFest.
And the three streets surrounding Plant Park, Screven Avenue, Stephenson Street and Jenkins Street will be closed beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday for the 9:45 fireworks launch.