Pickens prepares for Azalea Festival

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens Azalea Festival board of directors member Susan Stansell appeared before Pickens City Council Monday night to make sure the city is coming through with $5,000 in funding for the 2015 festival.

Mayor David Owens said the issue would be put on the agenda for next month’s meeting of city council, but the smiles and nodding heads of the council members indicated the funding is nearly a sure thing.

“Go ahead and plan on getting it,” Owens said.

“We look forward to the official OK,” Stansell said.

The festival is set for April 17-18 in downtown Pickens.

This will be the first year that the festival will not be funded by the Pickens Chamber of Commerce, but the festival has also become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization this year.

The city normally provides the $5,000 for the festival.

The $5,000 will cover two electronic board message signs, six billboards, entertainment, festival brochures, and portable restrooms.

Stansell said while the committee is already working on this year’s festival, nothing has been finalized. Organizers were scheduled to meet with officials from WSPA Channel 7 Tuesday to discuss the television coverage of the festival.

Part of this year’s festival is likely to be a Blues Fest.

Several members of the Azalea Festival committee were sitting in the back row at City Hall for Monday’s meeting.

“We appreciate y’all coming,” Owens said. “We appreciate the job you do. Not just the Azalea Festival, but everything you do, volunteering. We appreciate that help.

“When it comes to volunteerism, they’re in the front.”

In other news at the meeting, Owens announced Sharon Hagar has been hired as the city’s new finance director.

“She started today,” Owens said. “And I hope she comes back tomorrow.”