Wetumpka's River and Blues Festival draws big crowd - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Wetumpka's River and Blues Festival draws big crowd

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Downtown Wetumpka was busy on Saturday as thousands turned out for the third annual River and Blues Festival.

Dozens of bands and artists took the stage to entertain the crowd.

"That New Orleans music atmosphere with food and everything, we thought ‘What if we tried to bring that to Wetumpka', and we just started talking about it," said Thad Hankins, creator of the festival.

What started out as a simple idea has grown to an up and coming music and arts festival bringing in thousands of people to Wetumpka.

Now in its third year, Wetumpka's river and blues attracts people from all over the state and beyond, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida.

"Wetumpka only has 7,500 people living in the city limits, so to have over 10,000 people come to see what we have to offer is a great opportunity to showcase what we have in Wetumpka," said Tiffany Robinson, special events tourism manager for Wetumpka.

Of course with so many extra people in the small city, the music festival means good news for Wetumpka and its businesses.

"It financially helps them a little bit while they're selling stuff out here, so it does economically help the local businesses," said Wetumpka resident Klaudia Rose.

But it goes beyond just dollars and cents as leaders say this festival helps put the city on the map.

"We hope to make Wetumpka a destination where you come and do things, whether it's the river, or mountain biking at Swayback, or coming to a music festival like this," Hankins said.

"That's the beauty of Wetumpka, it's small and it's quaint and it's humble," said Wetumpka resident Bryan Hurst. "These events, they always improve on the quality of life."

Organizers are already making plans for next year. They say they will be adding additional stages and acts and hope to expand the festival even more.

Leaders say it's a tradition they plan to continue well into the future.

The River and Blues Festival is a free event.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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