eclectic cotton fest

A free carnival-themed kids zone will include games and inflatables. File

Hurricane Delta is posing a threat to the town of Eclectic’s 28th annual Cotton Festival, which is scheduled for from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. 

According to the National Weather Service, Delta is forecast to be a major hurricane. Delta is expected to intensify in the Caribbean and make landfall in northern portions of Mexico. After traveling over the Gulf Coast, Delta is expected to impact Louisiana and bring rainfall to Alabama. Rainfall in the River Region is predicted on Saturday and Sunday.

Cotton Festival coordinator Carmen Winslett said she is watching the weather closely and a decision won’t be made about the fate of the event until Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

An update about the festival will be posted on the Alabama Cotton Festival Facebook page by Thursday.

“The weather predictions are constantly changing, so if there’s any way to still have the festival on Saturday, then we will,” Winslett said. “Canceling has never been an option.”

If the worst happens, Winslett said the festival will be rescheduled for a different day.

This year’s festival is shaping up to be the largest one yet. Winslett said more than 200 vendors have signed up to participate in the event. Vendors are travelling from North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi to take part in the festival.

“We have more vendors this year than we’ve ever had,” she said. “Last year we had 175.”

Winslett said the vendors were excited and eager to participate because so many others events have been canceled due to COVID-19.

“COVID has benefited us in some ways because vendors are searching for opportunities to get out there and sell their products,” Winslett said. “This year promises to be really, really large.”

Past festivals averaged 4,500 to 6,000 attendees, but last year the town saw attendance numbers surpass 10,000. Winslett said the festival just about doubled in size from 2018 to 2019.

There’s no admission fee to enter the festival and the carnival themed games in the kids’ zone are free as well.