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Madison Street Festival delights crowds on near-perfect day

MADISON – Hurricane Nate knew better than to spoil this party.

Ironically, the approaching hurricane delivered Madison Street Festival with warmer-than-normal October temps and a cooling breeze for the many thousands that attended Madison’s largest community event, now in its 37th year.

Captain John Stringer said, after confirmation from MSF President Kyle Mumaw, that a realistic estimate of 35,000 attended the daylong event. “The shuttles alone moved more than 20,000 people,” Stringer said.

“The police department wanted to make sure the event was safe. Even though we’re providing public safety, we’re also enhancing the quality of life of Madison as a whole. People shouldn’t have to worry about public safety or traffic control,” Stringer said.

In the opening parade, units marched under a new, inflated arch, emblazoned with MSF logos and icons. Hundreds of teenagers sacrificed their first day of Fall Break to entertain with electric rhythms of ROTC groups, clubs and the marching bands from James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools and Huntsville Drum Line.

On Main Street, two lookout officers were stationed on the former drug store’s roof “for a good vantage point for the entire street festival,” Stringer said. “Two lost children were found within minutes.” In total, 20 reserve and full-time officers patrolled downtown streets.

Children potted take-home petunias with Junior League helpers. Local entertainers played upbeat rock, jazz and anything-goes tunes on two stages. Mom-and-pop entrepreneurs, church members and a myriad of vendors endorsed their products.

Quality painting, sculpture and other designs impressed visitors to Artists Alley. Fans of ‘heavy muscle’ and shiny chrome were impressed with the Car and Bike Show.

“The police department had a good plan in place for a partnership with the Madison Street Festival Committee, Parks and Recreation Department and Madison Fire and Rescue Department. We appreciate the community involvement,” Stringer said.

Many visitors headed directly to Crafters Cove for the latest decorating trends in signage painted with humorous and sentimental quotes, wall hangings and wreathes celebrating the season or favorite college alma mater. Re-purposing was a popular theme, transforming discarded items into have-to-have decor. Little princesses were attracted to ‘swag,’ like glitzy headbands.

Morgan Stanfill, owner of Kendry Collection, sold her jewelry for the first time. “This weekend was such a success, and I just wanted to reach out to let you know that I thought MSF was an amazing experience for me as a vendor,” Stanfill said. “The volunteer helpers were absolute lifesavers, and I couldn’t have gotten my booth setup so quick without them.”

“Looking forward to returning next year!” Stanfill said.

For information, visit madisontreetfestival.org.

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