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Magnolia Blossom festival boosts local economy - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Magnolia Blossom festival boosts local economy

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MAGNOLIA, Ark -

The KTBS 3 Community Caravan was back on the road Thursday in Magnolia, Arkansas.

The town is gearing up for their annual Magnolia Blossom Festival and Championship Steak Cook-off.

Each year, master grillers and festival goers from all over the nation head to Southwest Arkansas.

Organizers say the event not only showcases their community, but it helps boost their economy.

"I get so excited when it's time for the festival. It draws in people from different communities," said Betty Eddy, Simply Beautiful shop owner.

Eddy has been preparing for the festival since January.

It's one of their best sale days.

Simply Beautiful Shop employee Kelli Taylor says the festival gets bigger every year.

"When we were featured on the Food Network that really brought the festival to full capacity. I think they sale 3,000 tickets for the state cook off," said Taylor.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Arkansas.

Magnolia Blossom Festival Director Cammie Hambrice says more than 80 grillers are signed up to participate in the festival.

"The hotels fill up. People shop while they're here. It brings people into the county," explained Hambrice.

More than 100 people volunteer to help with the festival each year.

Festival Co-director Ellie Baker says the volunteers make the festival run efficiently and more fun.

"We are just happy we have people in the community that want to get that involved and make this festival one of the best," said Baker.

Some of the activities this weekend include crafts, food, a parade, and a 5K race and fun run.

There will also be live entertainment, activities for children, and a car and motorcycle show.

The historic downtown square is where all the action will take place.

Here's a link to the full schedule.

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