Eclectic mix of vendors will line festival midway

ALBANY, Ga. -- Vendors from as far away as Washington, D.C. and from all over the Southeast will bring their goods to the Exchange Club Fairgrounds over the weekend, hoping music fans at the Georgia Throwdown are in a mood to spend money.

More than 75 for-profit and nonprofit vendors -- and counting, event core team member Cynthia George said she'd added one as late as Monday morning -- will set up on the fairgrounds for the three-day festival, bringing everything from cowboy hats to arts & crafts to T-shirts to custom jewelry to the latest wireless gizmos with them.

Oh, and food ... lots of food.

For those who thought the buzz around the first-ever Georgia Throwdown this weekend in Albany couldn't get more interesting, country superstar Luke Bryan just upped the ante.

Sunday night, Bryan posted on the Georgia Throwdown's Facebook page a tease of a status: "Who would like me to make an appearance!?"

While Bryan isn't on the list of performers for the 1st Annual Georgia Throwdown this weekend at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds and legal issues with contracting likely would prevent an official performance, it's possible Bryan could throw some support to Dallas Davidson, the hot songwriter and performer who's nominated for an Academy of Country Music award for songwriter of the year and who is slated to be on the roster this weekend.

"There's going to be Cajun food, Mexican, good old Southern cooking, barbecue -- plenty of barbecue, this is the South -- wings and every kind of munchie you can imagine," event team member Erin Whatley said Monday. "And there's going to be so much other stuff going on away from the music stages.

"We've got stilt walkers, hula hoopers, the Albany High School marching band, palm readers, a paintball area, a man who's written a Star Trek screenplay. And the D'Town Arts Coalition will be creating works on the festival grounds."

Whatley said officials have room for a few more merchandise vendors, but they've cut off registration for concessions vendors unless they've already obtained necessary paperwork from the Health Department.

"We wanted to keep the vendor lineup exclusive enough for everyone to make money, but we also wanted to make sure we had a diverse group for the festival," Whatley said. "The team -- especially Jeb Tabb -- put a lot of research into lining up vendors. We contacted those who've taken part in the (downtown Albany) Mardi Gras celebration because we wanted to give people who've promoted local events the first shot at being at the festival.

"We've also used the festivalsandevents.com website to get in touch with other vendors from the state and especially from this area."

QUE OUT: Throwdown officials have announced that as many as 30 full-service RV/camper hook-ups opened up last week when organizers of the Que4Kids barbecue cook-off competition decided to pull out of the festival. Organizers had set up 112 full-service spots for campers and had previously announced those slots had all been taken.

Anyone interested in grabbing one of the open slots may contact Justin Andrews at www.340creativegroup.com for additional information.

LINEUP CHANGE: Event core team member Evan Barber announced a minor lineup change for Friday's Throwdown. Faith Jackson, originally scheduled to perform at 4 p.m. on the Phoebe Community Visions Stage, will instead take the Fox 31 Stage at 7 p.m.

Lee County country singer Jackson will follow Betsy Kingston on the Fox 31 Stage. Kingston replaces Mac George in the 5 p.m. festival slot.

OOPS: Albany native Dallas Davidson, Nashville's reigning Country Songwriter of the Year, did not trade in his wife -- country singer Sarah Davidson -- for another country music Sara. In an article that appeared in Monday's Herald, "Sarah Evans" was proclaimed Dallas Davidson's rising country singer wife.

Sarah Davidson will precede Dallas Davidson and his Peach Picker partner, fellow country singer/songwriter Rhett Akins, on the festival's Flintco Throwdown Stage Sunday at 1:45 p.m. Sara Evans, however, is not scheduled to perform.