Powers Festival: The 42-year journey to 2012
From Staff Reports
What began as Powers’ Crossroads Country Fair and Art Festival — now known as Powers Festival — was formed in 1971 by local Coweta and well-known artist Tom Powers.
The site of the festival was on the beautiful grounds of the Powers family plantation off Highway 34 in western Coweta and eastern Heard counties. Exhibitors were set up along winding paths under shady trees. The festival was a huge success from its beginning and involved all the communities of Heard and Coweta counties.
In 1975, Coweta Festivals Inc. was formed as an umbrella organization of six non-profit civic groups: Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, the Newnan-Coweta Art Association, Newnan-Coweta Jaycees, Pilot Club of Newnan, the Newnan Coweta Chapter of Professional Secretaries International (later changed to International Association of Administrative Professionals) and the 4-H Boys and Girls of Coweta County.
These non-profit organizations purchased the festival site a few years later when the land became available.
The 86 acres still belongs to Coweta Festivals.
The annual festival has continued to be a success. It has become well-known throughout the nation and has been selected several times by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of “The Top Twenty Events” for September.
More than one hundred talented artists and craftsmen from across the nation gather each Labor Day weekend to display their works from Saturday through Monday.
The 42nd annual Powers Festival opens for Labor Day weekend 2012 with new exhibitors and old favorites, new features, and a new management structure.
Among the highlights of the festival are the abundance of country cooking and festival food, 18 bands on four stages, an expanded children’s area, and many special exhibits such as blacksmithing and chair caning.
New features this year include Carnival Corner, with carnival rides for older children, and an “extreme” area with bungee jump activities.
There will be four stages with more than 20 bands performing throughout the festival. The area around the main stage has been reconfigured to make it more user-friendly and enjoyable with tents for shade while audience members enjoy some of the festival cooking.
Now that Coweta Festivals, Inc. has received a Special Events Use Permit from Coweta County, it allows the land to be used for more events throughout the year.
Powers Pavilion, which is the new name for the event venue grounds, has housed Powers Festival for the past 41 years, with this upcoming Labor Day event being the 42nd Powers Festival.
“Powers Pavilion is currently expanding to bring more festivals, concerts, and events throughout the year which will allow us to put more money back into the community and to charitable organizations,” according to Executive Director Holly Hammonds. “Powers Festival will continue its 42-year-old legacy along with additional expansion enabling us to bring our visitors the very best outdoor events and entertainment in West Georgia.”
Coweta Festivals Inc. has contracted with Xcessive Sound, which functions as a management company and is coordinating the festival — as well as other events planned for the festival property, now known as Powers Pavilion. Mark Turnham is president of Xcessive Sound, and had done sound systems for the festival in earlier years. Working with Turnham and Hammonds on sponsorships for Powers Pavilion events is Stewart Cowan.
The members of the Coweta Festivals organizations won’t be the busy worker bees running the Powers Festival this year.
Operations will still be done by volunteers, just different ones. Powers Pavilion has worked with other organizations, and their members will be helping to run things; large donations will then be made to the organizations, Turnham said.
Powers Festival “has always been charity driven,” he said. “We want to expand the charities. It’s one of the things we have in our company charter,” to benefit more than just the owners of the property.
“We’re paying the same as if we had to pay someone,” Turnham said, but because the workers are volunteers with organizations, “the money is going for a good cause instead of to individuals.”
Powers Pavilion has designated the long-time festival grounds as the “Festival Village,” and is adding the large parking area “Outdoor 54” — a name taken from the 54-acre field — for future concerts and events.
Already on the schedule for the near future are an October/ Halloween event – Zombie Apocalypse — which will feature a trail of scary scenes and activities in the Festival Village section of the property, as well as Winter Wonderland for December with holiday lights along the main “Grandfather’s Walk” path leading to special activities at the field and stage area.