More the merrier as Mt. Airy May Fest moves to carnival grounds May 17 and 18

Mount Airy's May Fest will take place at a new location this year that will allow it to triple in size and offer more than 200 vendors, in addition to three stages of entertainment, food and more.

This year's festival will take place at the Mt. Airy Carnival Grounds May 17 and 18.

The spring event had been held on Main Street. But the town's sidewalk improvement project, while much needed, left limited vendor space for the popular festival, according to Ben Gue, president of Mt. Airy's Lions Club, co-organizer of the event.

Last year's Fall Festival also was held at the carnival grounds and had great success, Gue said.

"It was wonderful last fall," Gue said, of the event's debut at the site. "We had a great festival."

The Lions Club partnered with the Ladies' Auxiliary for the Mt. Airy Volunteer Fire Department for the first time in the fall, Gue said, because the group realized the festival was going to be "so much bigger."

"We had only 65 vendor spaces down here," Gue said, of the Main Street location."We got a lot of new vendors and a lot of repeat people. We have a lady from Maine coming...and a lady in Virginia."

After expenses, both the auxiliary and the Lions Club received more than $5,000 each from the Fall Festival proceeds.

"That wasn't bad for two days' work," Gue laughed, admitting that the planning for the event took much longer.

Gue is confident that Main Street businesses will still benefit from the spring festival despite the new location.

"I have a store on Main Street," Gue said. "I took a booth in the fall and have a space in the spring. I was sending people back and forth {to the store]. We had a great festival, both at the festival and at the store."

This weekend, two of the festival's three stages will feature live entertainment. Demonstrations by local karate clubs and dance studios will take place on the third stage.

A children's section will offer a swing ride, slides, a pony ride and a 45-foot zip line that was popular at the Fall Festival, Gue said.

Another bonus for the new location is that there will be plenty of parking available, Gue said.

"Parking is very limited," Gue said, of Main Street. "You're either walking uphill or downhill. A lot of people are very excited. Parking will be so much easier."

The Mount Airy May Festival will take place May 17 and 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Mount Airy Carnival Grounds, Twin Arch Road, Mount Airy. For information, call 301-829-5466.

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