2022’s annual Big Shanty Festival unites the community and supports local business


Hannah Gresham

Downtown Kennesaw welcomed locals to its annual Big Shanty festival this past weekend, urging them to enjoy the live entertainment, local businesses and multiple food trucks. The event would not occur without the praiseworthy efforts of the Kennesaw Business Association, Superior Plumbing, and the city of Kennesaw. The community applauds the event and continues to come year after year, excited to buy more local treats and relish in the local entertainment.

Hannah Gresham, Features Editor

Cheerful and carefree citizens poured onto the streets of downtown Kennesaw this past weekend at the annual Big Shanty Festival. The quaint city closed off its streets for the two-day event, which attracted hundreds of people and united the community. The festival hosted a variety of food vendors, arts and crafts, merchants and live entertainment.

Despite the chilly weather, friends and families showed up at 9:30 AM on Saturday, April 9th, bundled in jackets and knitted hats. The festival began with a parade bright and early, featuring floats, high school bands, marchers and over 1,000 children representing every sports association in the area. The parade began at Adam’s park and traveled down Main Street into downtown Kennesaw, where onlookers observed the event with wide smiles. 

 Numerous people kicked off the day by visiting the Apotheos Roastery tent, where they could buy fresh coffee from the local business. From there, they could explore the lines of over 200 vendor booths, which rested on the streets with grinning sellers waiting to promote their creative products. Bright art hung along with the tents and homemade wooden creations, handcrafted soap, fresh produce, BBQ sauce and colorful clothing filled the tables. Several of the most popular booths featured homemade jewelry, such as beaded earrings and bracelets. 

Sharon and Phil Iaquinto, two local vendors who sold different types of jewelry, enthusiastically promoted their products from behind their booth. The pair began by selling necklaces and earrings and then incorporated stretchy bracelets into their small business. Since then, the bracelets have become their bestseller, and the money made from shows similar to the Big Shanty festival allowed them to travel and send their daughter to college. 

“We’ve been doing this for about 12 years, maybe a little longer. We didn’t know all the ins and outs but this show accepted us really easily so we started with this show when we first wanted to sell our products. It’s a great event, a nice family event with hundreds of sweet people, no drunk people or crazy interruptions. We love coming here each year,” Mr. Iaquinto said. 

Classic festival food, such as fried Oreos, funnel cakes, homemade lemonade, ice cream and caramel apples, made an appearance at the numerous food trucks. Lines of hungry customers formed in front of the vendors and they gladly paid for the fried delicacies. 

Located across the street from the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History rested the main stage, which housed performances from local artists, dance groups and even children’s karate. The event accepted people of all ages, allowing them to present their hard work to the crowd. Bouncy castles and sizable inflatables stood directly adjacent to the stage, and children rushed over to enjoy the play area after walking through the crowded streets. 

Additionally, the free admission festival accepted animals and several vendors sold treats, leashes and collars for the furry creatures. The event encouraged people to buy local products and put money directly back into their community. In addition to the fresh produce stands, local restaurants like 1885 Grill also sold their appetizing cuisine to the hungry passersby. Customers all left with full stomachs and hands full of fun prizes. 

“I’ve come to this event multiple times and it’s always a lot of fun, I love how many vendors there are each year. Even if I don’t buy anything, I love talking to local businesses and learning about how they got started. It’s great to learn more about the community and make connections with these people. The event will continue to be one of my favorites,” junior Gabe Adams said.