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Hartselle Enquirer

Depot Days to close with all-day festival

That one day of the year when the City of Hartselle blocks all through traffic in its historic Central Business District and converts the streets, sidewalks and parking lots into a venue for the eye-catching and fun-filled Depot Days Festival is close at hand.

The family-friendly event will get under way before daybreak Sat., Sept. 15, as merchandise, food and carnival venders roll into town and begin setting up tents and tables and, fire up grills and cook stoves and assemble children’s rides.

Before the sun comes up they’ll be ready to accommodate the thousands of local residents and out-of-town visitors who’ll come, look, shop, eat and be entertained throughout the day.

Across town, runners will be arriving at Sparkman Civic Center to register and warm up for the Depot Days 5K run, which kicks off at 8 a.m. A 1-K fun run will follow at 9 a.m.

By the time winners are decided in the road races, the parking lots at First United Methodist Church will be filled with antique and classic cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles. The show is free and the vehicles will remain on display until 3 p.m.

In addition, antique tractor showmen will be conducting street sprints for young children riding miniature tractors, music will be resonating from Hartselle Enquirer’s entertainment tent, the smell of steaks grilling and funnel cakes frying will be filling the air at the food court and kids will be lined up in the Children’s Area waiting to board the mini-train or take on one of the other rides.

Five blocks of downtown will be lined with displays ranging from local art and handmade jewelry to novelty gifts and monogrammed T-shirts. Also in the mix will be booths set up by civic and veteran’s organizations, churches and political groups.

One of the vendors that will be soliciting support for a worthwhile community project is the SNAP Committee. It will be accepting $5 donations on a giveaway of a special queen-size quilt made and donated by Mary Ann Howse. The quilt will be displayed at The Depot. Proceeds will benefit the third and final construction phase of the John Mark Stallings Special Needs Accessible Playground in Sparkman Park.

Favorites among the free offerings are helium-filled balloons, cotton candy and popcorn.

Also, most of the businesses in the district will be operating as usual, offering well-stocked selections of antiques, collectibles and gift items.

“Plans and preparations have been in the making for several months and everything is set to go,” said Susan Hines, president of Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have a diverse lineup of activities that offers something of special interest to every member of the family.”

Visitors are reminded that festival activities will occupy a large part of the parking space downtown, including the streets and off-street parking lots south of Main Street. Parking in outlying areas will available on a first come basis.