Annual Big Shanty Festival brings together Kennesaw community


Rachel Maxwell

The Big Shanty Festival, an annual Downtown Kennesaw tradition, took place on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22. People from all over Georgia gathered to learn about Kennesaw’s local businesses, eat food, and watch performances from children at local schools as well as world-renowned professionals.

Rachel Maxwell, Social Media Manager

Downtown Kennesaw held its annual Big Shanty Festival on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22. People from all over Georgia came to participate in the festivities, which included a variety of vendors and booths along the streets to sell and promote their products.

“I was surprised by the amount of people here today. There are so many people you can’t even get a text out or post a photo on your phone. The festival has really grown, I’ve lived in Kennesaw for 26 years, and the first time I came it was never this big,” Smith-Gilbert Gardens booth runner Brus Hornbuckle said.

Rachel Maxwell
The festival offered a petting zoo to raise money for local schools, which quickly became a big hit amongst the kids and parents. For only $2, kids fed baby cows, goats, chickens, pigs, and ducks. While kids played with the farm animals, parents could sit back and enjoy “world famous” hotdogs made by booth runners.

Town locals walked the streets, enjoying classic fair foods like funnel cakes and corndogs, sponsored by local businesses like Superior Plumbing, Henry’s, and JD’s Bar-B-Que.

Due to the rainy, cold weather that shut down Sunday’s festivities, Saturday’s warm spring weather made for the perfect day to attend the festival.

“It was raining so much that they told all the companies to go home. We cleaned up before the festival even started,”  junior Chike Asuzu said.

Along with learning about local businesses, people could attend different shows, such as Lady Houdini, the world’s top escape artist, who escaped a straight jacket while hanging above the fair, and also attempted the world’s first ever full view water torture tank. The fun continued with a various assortment of classic fair foods, and local restaurant foods. The festival also offered a Kids Zone for toddlers with blow up bouncy houses and a petting zoo.

Rachel Maxwell
World renowned escape artist Lady Houdini performed crowd shocking stunts. Children and parents left with dropped jaws, and an important message. Lady Houdini, also known as Kristen Johnson and her husband shared their story of coming close to death in a texting and driving accident to raise awareness amongst young drivers in the crowd.

“My family comes to Big Shanty every year, and this year was one of my favorites. I got to see my little brother perform his school musical, eat lots of fried foods, see a really awesome bear show, and hold a baby goat. I love this festival, and I think it’s such an amazing tradition for this town that brings us all together,” Big Shanty attendee Autumn Jurt said.