Camilla prepares for Gnat Days

— CAMILLA, Ga. -- Officials in Camilla are preparing for a weekend of events that is expected to bring a large number of people into the area.

The 2011 Gnat Days festival is set to kick off Friday and continue into Saturday.

The activities are being coordinated by the Camilla Chamber of Commerce and have created a lot of excitement.

"Last year, we had approximately 4,000 people pass through. We hope to have at least that many if not more pass through again," said Jennifer Burnum, the chamber's executive director.

The festivities will kick off with a 5K run and fun walk set for Friday at Courthouse Square Park. Registration is at 5:30 p.m. with lineup taking place at 7 p.m.

The festival itself will begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday in the area behind the courthouse. The public can expect to see monogrammed items, pocketbooks, homemade jewelry, woodwork, clothing, doll clothes and paintings, to name a few of the items on display for sale.

There will also be live entertainment throughout the day along with a children's play area and a hot dog eating contest, which is planned for 1 p.m.

Also on Saturday, there will be a children's bike race at 9 a.m. starting from the American Legion on Harney Street. The lineup and safety inspection will take place 45 minutes prior to the event. Immediately following the race, awards will be presented and a drawing will take place for a bicycle donated by CNS, the sponsor for the event.

The Camilla Police Department is also planning to give away six children's bicycles donated by Wal-Mart.

An hour after the race starts, there will be a pet show at Courthouse Square Park. In addition, there is a car show set to take place at the P&C Bank on North Harney Street from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Although the car show is casual in nature, trophies will be given for the best "Classic" and the best "Contemporary" auto after votes from the festival's attendees are tallied.

The festivities will conclude with an "Under the Oaks" street dance, which will feature a performance by the band The Fabulous Classics at the festival site from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

For more information on Gnat Days, contact the chamber at (229) 336-5255. All events are open to the general public.