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Annual Grayson festival draws big crowd

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Grayson's senior tackle Ricardo Vega (78) takes a sledgehammer to a car during the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday. The featured attraction at the festival raised funds for the up coming Gwinnett County Relay for Life.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Grayson's senior tackle Ricardo Vega (78) takes a sledgehammer to a car during the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday. The featured attraction at the festival raised funds for the up coming Gwinnett County Relay for Life.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Grayson's "Miss Sophomore" Taylor Rudolph rides in a convertible during the parade for the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Youngsters line the street while watching the parade in celebration of the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Alissa Williams, 13, left front, and Devan Johnson, 12, center, from the dance crew of "A Step Ahead" Performing Arts Studio perform for the locals who gather to celebrate the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Trey Jones, 8, Mary Kate Miskell, 5, quickly reach for candy beside William Miskell, 9, while lining the street watching the parade in celebration of the 34th Annual Grayson Day Festival Saturday.

GRAYSON -- Gracie Oney took aim at the fishbowl.

Holding up a milk-white ping pong ball, the 12-year-old leaned forward, concentrating. If her toss was successful, she'd be the proud owner of one of several furry rabbits roaming the grass below.

Not if mom had anything to say about it.

"She's going to have to give it away," said Beth Hansen, shaking her head as she watched her daughter. "What am I going to do with a rabbit?"

The mom-and-daughter duo were among dozens waiting to play the quintessential carnival game and among thousands who showed up Saturday for Grayson Day Festival: a mid-spring, outdoor extravaganza of music, food, crafts and good, old-fashioned family fun.

In its 34th year, the event continues to pack Grayson Community Park, with crowds fanning out for a funnel cake, a bag of kettle corn, an ice cream cone or an ice-cold Coca-Cola as they walk the grounds on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Todd Ellis and sister, Kris Eiklor, split a funnel cake with Kris' daughter Taylor, 6.

Kris said the festival was "awesome ... we like it a good bit."

The native New Yorkers said they haven't been to many festivals in their time in Georgia, but she said they were "beyond excited to find this one. It's a great well-planned, well-organized event."

Added Kris: "And the rain is holding off, too, so far."

Storm clouds loomed above throughout much of the event, but the rains held off most of the day.

That was a good thing for the folks of First Baptist Church of Grayson, who were there to help spread the word about their upcoming vacation Bible school program June 3-7: "Kingdom Rock."

Sporting a jeweled crown and a red robe, Sandy Williams had no trouble attracting attention for the cause. "Kids think it's funny," Williams said. "We have a good time here."

He stood with his church group outside their booth, handing out literature, much like hundreds of other vendors selling wares and touting ideas to a great mass of moving people.

Just a couple dozen feet away: 12-year-old Oney steadied her hand, aiming for the fishbowl. She arced the ping pong ball over the rows of glass containers, and it bounced away. No dice.

Mom let out an audible sigh. Crisis averted.