Tucker continues to put itself on the map with yet another successful fun-for-the-whole-family festival this past Saturday.
From big wheel races to watermelon eating contests, Tucker’s new annual summer festival brought back some old traditions from yesteryear.
“I wanted to bring fun events back to Tucker; contests, races,” explained Old Town Tucker Merchants Association Events Chairman Jamey Wilson. “All the events were a big hit. The big wheel race was huge (see video), people loved that. It was a big part of Tucker Day and I’m glad it’s back.”
“Same with the dunk tank,” Wilson continued. “That was another big thing we brought back, and it was one of the most successful events monetarily all day.”
Half the money raised at the dunk tank is going to Tucker High School’s football program, and the other half goes to charity.
Eric McCaskill, owner of Eric’s Fit Lab on Main Street, was dunked by 10-year-old Malia Joiner, helping him raise money for the Cancer Foundation in honor of a few of his fitness clients who have had breast cancer.
“After experiencing it with them, I felt I had to give back,” McCaskill explained.
Eight kids between the ages of 5 and 13 partook in the watermelon eating contest, with cash prizes and gift cards for the top three winners.
“My friend made me do it but I’m happy now 'cause I get free food,” Brooks said with a smile. “I feel like I swallowed a ball and it’s sitting in my stomach,” squirmed second place winner Elise Harwell.
The day brought some intense heat with temperatures in the upper 90s, keeping some people indoors and affecting the number of attendees.
“The number one thing we learned is the heat; next time we’ll have it at night. Do it from like 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.,” Wilson said. “If there’s one thing I could change it’d be to have more people hear the bands because they were all fantastic.”
The live music line-up included Benji Shanks from the Last Waltz Ensemble playing with Moontower and the Francisco Vidal Band, a staple in the Atlanta music scene for the past 20 years. (See event banner photo for full line-up)
The highlight of the day had to be the Tucker Police Precinct’s Big Wheel Race. (see video). Officer D.A. Kendrick signed up the Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) for “the enjoyment and excitement of it all. It’s events like these that bring the community much closer together,” explained Kendrick.
Officer Streeter (see photo/video) crossed the finish line dead last after a one of his fellow officers got some extra help. “Better late than never!” laughed Steeter.
Old Town Tucker’s next event? The Tucker BBQ and Bluegrass Festival on November 17 from 12 noon until 5 p.m. “It’s going to be a BBQ cookoff, similar to the chili cookoff, but we’re going to do pulled pork and Brunswick stew,” said Wilson, who will be coordinating that event too.
“December 8 is our annual Christmas on Main Street event, and every year it gets bigger and this one will be big. Music, Santa and Christmas lights over the whole street, light pole to light pole,” Wilson said.
When asked why the big push towards downtown Tucker festivals, Wilson explained, “these are the events I’ve always wished were here so let’s bring them here.”
He’s hoping after a few years they will all be on autopilot, so he can enjoy the festivities and not be so immersed in putting them on. Last week WABE 90.1FM featured Tucker and all our new events coming up. They spoke of Tucker Summer Festival and about, “how Tucker has changed and what a neat little place it’s become. I thought it was dreaming,” Wilson commented. “I turned the radio on right when they started talking about Tucker, it was surreal.”