Ever heard of North Augusta’s Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee festival? Well don’t feel bad… it has sort of been a small-ish community festival for many years. But that is changing with the city recognizing the potential of the annual event.
“Todd Glover, the city administrator, has amped up everything (about the Jubilee), and he’s all for giving the city this free event, so forever and always it’ll be the last weekend in October, it’ll always be on Georgia Avenue, and we always want to try to keep it free,” she said. “We work all year trying to get sponsors so we can have a free event for the city.”
The 33rd annual Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee, a free festival that closes off Georgia Avenue from Clifton Avenue to Jackson Avenue at the end of October each year in North Augusta, will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 28.
The event planners have really picked up the level and quality of the bands, booking the Charlie Daniels Band (headlining Friday) and Robert Randolph and the Family Band on Saturday. “Known for an adventurous jam-band sound, pedal-steel magician Robert Randolph,” according to Rolling Stone, is a fresh and exciting addition to the already packed lineup. The festival hours are from 5:30-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.
Festival organizers are aiming to keep the Jubilee fresh by bringing in diverse acts each year, said Tourism and Marketing Coordinator for North Augusta Mandy Nelson. Last year, the theme was ’90s bands, and the Gin Blossoms headlined.
“It’s definitely a diversity thing going on,” Nelson said. “We did have some other ‘90s bands in mind (this year), but we decided to go with country mainly, and then we picked Robert Randolph to kind of go with that, but next year we’ll probably go back to ‘90s.”
Country singer/songwriter Cody Webb, who grew up about 40 miles away from North Augusta in Ridge Spring, S.C., will be performing at the festival for a third time. He’s excited to get back and play the festival and will be on stage at 7 p.m. Friday, opening for the Charlie Daniels Band.
“We played it last year; me and Ray Fulcher played it,” Webb said. “So I’m definitely excited to come back. We had a great time last year, and of course to do it with Charlie Daniels is really neat. I know he’s getting up in age, and he’s definitely one of my influences that I listened to growing up, so it’ll be really neat to get to do a show with them.”
Other musical acts on the main stage include the St. Bart’s praise band, Fairview Band, David Bell Band, Scarlet Begonias, Future Birds and No Sir.
More than 150 crafts and food vendors will be set up at the festival. Beer and wine also will be available for people to enjoy.
The Your Pie stage (which is more of a community stage) will close each night of entertainment with an after-party, with local country artist Donna Jo Carroll from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday night and Phillip Lee Jr. during that time on Saturday night.
Also on the Your Pie stage throughout the day Saturday will be a Junior Jazzercise group, the North Augusta School of Dance, the RECing crew, a costume contest for humans (and one for dogs) and more. Registration for the costume contests will be at the North Augusta Junior Women’s League booth, next to the Your Pie stage.
All kinds of food will be at the festival, including fare from Your Pie, two barbecue vendors, the Fat Man’s Mill Café food truck, Chick-fil-A, fair food (fried Oreos, funnel cakes), and more.
Thrills can be found at the festival with rides like the Sizzler and a Ferris wheel-type ride and inflatables such as slides and bounce houses.
Parking around the festival is free. Nelson said the parking garage near the municipal building will be available, and it’s just a short walk to the festival. People coming from Augusta on the 13th Street bridge will take a left at the first light to get to the parking garage.
People coming down into North Augusta from Martintown Road might want to park behind Grace United Methodist Church or First Baptist Church of North Augusta.
You’ll be kicking yourself if you miss this super, free festival.
Visit jackolanternjubilee.com to see a map of the festival, lineups and other information. Georgia Avenue between Clifton and Jackson will be closed from Friday, Oct. 27, until sometime after 1 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 29; detours will be in place for people to get through the area on West Avenue.