Whitney Lambert’s family arrived at 5 a.m. to get ready for the 36th annual Mayfest in May Park on Saturday.
They set up nearly a dozen tables in their customary spot under two large magnolia trees, “the U-shaped tree,” she called it. A child could sit in the cradle of a large limb and watch the festivities.
While the likes of Tito Lopez and D.J. Infamous rocked the stage, Lambert and her family kicked back in the shade, helping themselves to the food spread out around them.
They cooked plenty and had more than enough to share.
And that was the idea.
They grilled out like this in honor of Lambert’s mother, Sylvia Daniels, who died last year from lung cancer.
“My mom was a chef,” she said. “Even if she was sick she would still be out here.”
Lambert said her family has come every year since 1998. They started planning their menu in April.
“We’ve always done it,” said Lambert’s grandfather, Virgil Hooper. “It’s supposed to be a community thing.”
Ever since Perry Broadcasting took over the festival four years ago, they’ve aimed to create a family-friendly event, owner Velvet Perry said.
Nearly 50 performers entertained an estimated 10,000 people throughout the day. Performances were broken into gospel, R&B and hip-hop sections to appeal to a wide audience.
Perry said gospel fans might leave early and hip-hop fans might arrive late to catch their favorite music.
Children played on the playground while their parents enjoyed the entertainment and ate sno-cones and funnel cakes. Rapper Cheeta awarded iPads to students who could produce proof of perfect attendance and straight-A honor roll.
Lisa Douse drove from Waynesboro, Ga., to attend her fifth Mayfest.
She said she brought about five people with her this year. She loves the atmosphere and especially the entertainment.
Debra Allen, of North Augusta, and her friend Tiffany Dixon came to Mayfest for the first time Saturday. They brought about 10 people with them.
Allen, who moved to North Augusta from Florida last year, said she loves the music and the relaxed atmosphere.
Dixon said she met some nice people at the festival. She had always heard people talk about Mayfest and was glad she went.
“I’ll be here next year,” she said. “I’ll come earlier to get a better spot.”