CHILDERSBURG – Mother Nature blessed CoosaFest 478 with nice weather Saturday despite a forecast that called for the possibility of severe storms later in the day.
Moms pushed strollers with balloons tied on them, while dads got to walk the dog on a leash through the streets downtown where the annual event took place.
Crowds turned out to help Childersburg celebrate its 478th birthday.
The smell of foods such as barbecue, hamburgers and polish sausage waffled through the air as Thomas the Train filled with children and parents made its way around downtown.
One of the favorite spots for young children was the petting zoo. One little boy chased a duck around trying to pet it, while another one attempted to catch a baby pot-bellied pig. Other animals available for the children to pet were goats, a sheep and rabbits
Others took turns riding the ponies. The kids riding the ponies yelled “whoa” as the animals stopped in their tracks. Jubilee Farms from Opelika brought the petting zoo and ponies.
Down the street, the Candy Man from Talladega was offering his old fashioned homemade candies that included chocolate and peanut butter fudge, peanut brittle and divinity.
Buddy Evans is the Candy Man. He is 83 and gets up early every morning to make his candies from old family recipes. He has been doing this for 30 years.
A new vendor to CoosaFest was the Turtle Lady, Sonya Nostroza, of Columbiana. “This my first year here,” she said, “And we will be back next week for the Grits Festival at Kymulga Mill.”
Nostroza’s family owns Swat Team Reptiles. She had baby turtles, frogs and lizards that children could pick up and examine. The company is licensed by the state
The family has a farm in Louisiana where they raise the reptiles. Swat Team Reptiles has been in business for 25 years.
Mayor Ken Wesson was spotted talking with former Mayor James Payne and retired businessman Tom Jeff Duvall. Wesson said the turnout for CoosaFest was good despite the weather forecast.
“The Chamber of Commerce has done a great job with this. There are a lot of things to do,” he said.
Tom Roberts, executive director of the Greater Coosa Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored CoosaFest, was walking around to the various vendors snapping photographs.
Roberts was excited about how well CoosaFest was doing as visitors made their way to get a burger at Red’s Burgerville.
“We have great vendors. There are lots of things for families to have fun with. One such vendor is the Ride of a Lifetime virtual reality simulation, a roller coast known as The Rifter,” he said.
Roberts said there would be entertainment all day. Roberts said the 1960s and ’70s music that drifted along the streets as a crowd gathered was courtesy Backstreet, comprised of the Reynolds family. Roberts said the family had been playing together for years under the “Backstreet” name.
“They only play two to four events each year. We were glad to get them for CoosaFest,” Roberts said.
Just a few vendors away were members of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Linda Moody and Joyce Duvall stood next to their handmade colorful bears. The women pointed out the bears were Childersburg- and American-made.
Proceeds from sales of the bears the women made will go toward the church’s outreach program, which provides funds to many charitable groups in the area.
“We do some good things with our outreach program,” Joyce Duvall said.
CoosaFest 478 was a celebration of Childersburg’s 478 years as a community. Childersburg is proclaimed as the oldest continually occupied city in America, dating back to 1540.