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Festival draws thousands to downtown Lawrenceville

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Terrell Hamlet had never been to a rib-eating festival before Saturday.

The junior at Georgia Gwinnett College heard about the event and decided to attend and "have a little fun."

In its third year, the Rock 'n Rib Fest in downtown Lawrenceville was bigger than ever. The event doubled the number of rib vendors and exhibitors from last year and expanded the area in which people were allowed to consume beer, said Jay Markwalter, the executive director of the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association.

In fact, Markwalter said the festival was the biggest event that has ever taken place in downtown Lawrenceville since he started working with the LTTA in 2004. He estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people were gathered on the historic square.

The festival is more than about eating ribs and listening to classic rock music. The event was created to celebrate Georgia Gwinnett College, which opened in Lawrenceville four years ago.

The culinary event takes place in the historic center of the city of Lawrenceville, which is Gwinnett's county seat.

"It's a great thing to complement the arts and culture that come with the college being here," Markwalter said. "There are so many great Gwinnett fall festivals, but we wanted to offer something different."