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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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From Jerky to Figurines: 5th Annual Bartow Fall Fest

by James Coulter

Brian Woods works full-time as a firefighter, so he knows a thing or two about things that are smoking hot. That’s why, on the weekends, he visits local markets and festivals to sell his homemade jerky. Made from beef brisket, Florida’s Finest Jerky Co. sells jerky in 13 different flavors ranging from sweet to savory to spicy and hot.

Woods works as a firefighter, while his girlfriend owns her own business. Together, the two sell their jerky at places like the Bartow Fall Festival. Last Saturday, they attended the Bartow Fall Festival for the first time, and their first time more than met expectations.

“This is our first time here,” she said. “We are always looking for new people to meet and show our jerky to and do our business. This event was really good. I hope they come to have this again.”

Brian and Jennifer were one of several hundred vendors who attended the annual Bartow Fall Fest on Saturday. Hosted by Main Street Bartow, the outdoor market allowed local vendors and food trucks to line up along Summerlin Avenue and nearby streets to sell their wares for the fall season.

Sandy and Ray Landers live in Mulberry. They have been making various handmade crafts for the past five to six years. Prized among their crafts are their sitting characters designed after animals and other cute characters. This year’s fall fest was their first time attending, and their expectations were more than exceeded.

“My daughter-in-law comes out here every year, and she says it is the best around,” said Sandy. “It has been a great day. A great event. A lot of people, friendly people. We will come back.”

Linda Holcomb, Executive Director of Main Street Bartow, was pleased by the overall turnout. She owed the event’s success to the good weather and the growing demand for local events following a summer-long hiatus.

“It has been wonderful,” she said. “The weather has been great. We had lots and lots of people on the streets. They have been shopping. They have been shopping with the merchants. They have been eating down here. Everybody had been very, very happy.”

Main Street Bartow will be hosting various other events soon, including the Honey Bee Festival & Craft Fair in November and the Mistletoe Market in December. She has high expectations that all these events will be bigger and better than the last.

“It certainly draws people down. The more you have to offer, the more people want to come down for,” she said. “I am hoping that each event is more successful than this and they will all have an added element that will make them more different than each other.”

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Staff Reporter

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