Lula is inviting the community to celebrate its history and heritage with the 45th annual Railroad Days Festival.
The free event, which will take place around the Lula Train Depot, will start at 5 p.m. Friday, April 30, with craft and food vendors selling their wares, followed by an outdoor showing of “The Croods: A New Age,” once the sun sets. Brooke Bates, Lula Main Street director, said people who watch the film are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets. She said the event will mark the first outdoor movie out of a series planned for the town this year.
The festival will kick back up at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 30, with around 70 booths manned by artisans, crafters and other local merchants. As people peruse the items for sale, live music and other entertainment will resound from the stage outside the depot. Attendees will also be able to grab a bite from a choice of seven food trucks, including Hillside BBQ, Rollin' Chopsticks, Brenda's Concessions and Borders Bakers.
Lula’s traditional parade will move along Main Street at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30. Bates said spectators can expect to see East Hall High School’s marching band, fire trucks and police vehicles from Hall and Banks County sheriff’s offices, classic cars and floats from local businesses.
“It’s such a strong tradition in our community,” Bates said. “It’s our largest event. The general consensus (from Lula residents) is they’re excited to be able to celebrate the community again.”
Lynette Scheman, principal of Lula Elementary School, will serve as the parade's grand marshal, representing all the local teachers, staff and faculty who have worked to educate and keep students safe during the pandemic.
45th Annual Railroad Days Festival
What: Festival with craft vendors, live music and food to celebrate Lula’s heritage and the significance of its historical railroad
When: 5 p.m. to dark Friday, April 30; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 1, with parade at 10 a.m.
Where: Around the Lula Train Depot, 5911 Wall St., Lula
How much: Free
More info: cityoflula.com
Saturday entertainment lineup
- 10-10:45 a.m. Jonathan Thompson
- 11-11:30 a.m. Starr Phipps
- 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eric Dockery
- 1-2 p.m. Alan Baker and the Workin' Man Band
- 2:30-3:30 p.m. Larry Scroggs Bands
- 4-5 p.m. Cherry Cherry
Lula Mayor Jim Grier said the annual Railroad Days Festival is an example of “small-town America at its best.”
“It’s a time for people in the community and surrounding community to gather in downtown Lula and get out,” he said. “That’s even more important this year than in previous years.”
Grier shared that the railroad played a huge role in Lula’s formation and growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He noted that Lula served as a halfway point between Atlanta and Greenville, becoming the ideal spot for trains to stop and restock on coal and water. Both his uncle and grandfather worked as engineers on the railroad.
Railroad Days Festival not only celebrates the legacy of the railroad, but the town’s culture and residents. After having to cancel the event last year because of the pandemic, Grier said he is looking forward to reviving it for his hometown.
“I’m excited because it’s a long-standing tradition in our community,” he said. “It’s a chance for all of our local craft vendors to show off and musicians to share their talent on stage.”