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Madison Street Festival benefits MAC and historical society

WRITTEN BY GREGG L. PARKER

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEN FOUTS-DETULLEO

 

On the first Saturday in October, all eyes and hearts are focused to downtown’s byways for Madison Street Festival, the community’s largest annual gathering.

MSF originated in 1976 as part of the National Bicentennial Celebration. Charter chairman was Joyce Griffin. “We’re are now celebrating our 36th year –the festival wasn’t celebrated a few years,” 2016 MSF President Sharon Holcombe said.

MSF’s volunteer committee starts planning the festival in February.

MSF’s mission “is to provide a completely FREE day of family entertainment that unites the community as they enjoy arts and culture, interactive exhibits and entertainment,” Holcombe said. Proceeds are reinvested in the community by awarding grants to nonprofit groups that provide helpful services to Madison residents for these goals:

* Educational opportunities.

* Literary promotion efforts.

* Community improvement projects.

In 2015 MSF turned profits into 19 grants totaling $5,985.36. In addition, the committee established a $1,000 scholarship for a senior at both James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools. An iconic reminder of MSF’s outreach is the Madison Gazebo, which MSF volunteers built on Front Street.

“Because Madison Street Festival is held in historic downtown Madison, we try to be good neighbors and include Madison Station Historical Preservation Society as part of the celebration,” Holcombe said. In 2016 historical society members will sell commemorative bricks as a fundraiser for the organization.

In another fine arts connections, numerous MSF members also belong to Madison Arts Council or, at minimum, volunteer with MAC projects. “We also work with MAC to provide the Student Art Tent at MSF each year,” Holcombe said about scores of top-quality drawings, paintings and sketches by Madison students.

“Tina Clark with MAC, Debbie Overcash with the historical society and I representing MSF have met to brainstorm ways we can work together to accomplish goals in the community,” Holcombe said.

MSF’s steering committee has grown to 40 members. “However, we rely on many more volunteers to fill numerous positions on festival day,” Holcombe said. “We love to add new members to our committee each year. For 2016, we have added about ten (people).”

In a pleasing trend in recent years, numerous 20- and 30-something millennials are joining the MSF committee. “We are extremely proud of all the young people that have come on board. Most of them say they remember attending as a child and want to make sure the MSF tradition continues,” Holcombe said. “We have one committee member, Brenda Parker, that has served on the committee for about 18 years. Even Brenda cannot remember a time when MSF wasn’t part of her life. She was MSF president in 2002.”

Other officers are president-elect Kyle Mumaw; secretary and chair Gayle Milam; treasurer and co-chair Christy Hall; and directors Brian Mayfield and Beth Mumaw.

MSF monthly meetings on second Tuesdays are held at Madison City Hall. For more information, email info@madisonstreetfestival.org or visit madisonstreetfestival.org or Facebook/Madison Street Festival

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