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Kingsland to host festival this weekend
In 1983, a committee was formed to organize a small Labor Day festival in Kingsland.

Participants who showed up on the lawn of the First Baptist Church ate chicken dinners and fries for the one-day event.

As the city prepares for the 30th Annual Labor Day Weekend Catfish Festival this weekend, things have changed considerably over the years.

The festival now stretches four blocks in downtown Kingsland and features more than 100 arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, a Labor Day parade, a children's amusement area and a classic car and tractor exhibition.

While some of the 30 food vendors will undoubtedly serve fried chicken, the signature dish is farm-raised catfish. Visitors can choose between a whole fish filet or nuggets, fries or grits, cole slaw and sweet tea for $10.

The festival is expected to draw at least 45,000 visitors to downtown Kingsland this weekend, making it the largest festival in Camden County.

While the festival has grown over the years, organizers work hard to keep the small-town atmosphere.

Vendors are still required to display original, hand-crafted original wares, said Tonya Rosado, director of the Kingsland Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The festival has also grown in stature over the years. It is a four-time winner of the Southeast Tourism Society's "Top 20 Event" and has been named "Top 100 Event in North America" by the American Bus Association.

The festival opens at noon on Saturday and Sunday, with free live entertainment until 6 p.m., when the festival closes.

The festival gets an earlier start on Monday, when it opens at 9 a.m. Organizers expect a good crowd for a parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Boone Street.

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