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More Than Meets the Festive Eye

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While every small town festival has its own flavor, what one does there is usually the same.

"Stay cool, have a picnic, enjoy eating and just having fun," said Sherri Carver, co-owner of the Lake Somerville Marina.

The activities are meant for fun. The event is meant for much more in eyes of local business leaders.

"It's an opportunity not only to showcase your city, your town, your vendors, your businesses," said Brenda Van De Walle with the Burleson County Chamber of Commerce, "but it's an opportunity for other people to come in and know the area, and then they're going to come back and they're going to visit."

Somerville...for three years now, home to Somerfest. The biggest it's ever been, the festival will provide proceeds the local library association, as well as the food and clothing bank. Non-profit organizations will rake in some dough as well. But as much as anything, Somerville hopes Somerfest brings summertime travelers from across the state.

"Somerville has this lake, which is so wonderful," said Sheri Allen-Wright, secretary of the Somerfest committee. "Of course, other counties do, too. We just need to let people know that we have it, that it's here and that it's a wonderful place to come visit."

"The American Business Association just released some tourism results," Van De Walle said, "and small towns and festivals are two places that people like to shop, and so here in Burleson County, we have both of those."

Count the Kolache Festival and Snookfest among Burleson County's other events. It's what the city of Bryan hopes to accomplish in the near future with a festival of their own. From a city just getting into the festival business, the advice is simple.

"You've got to work things out and get your rules figured out and get volunteers to work it," said Allen-Wright. "This is an all volunteer organization also."

All volunteers, all organized at the Lake Somerville Marina for the first time this year. And next year, Somerfest might just be bigger after the Marina finalizes a deal with the current lake manager to lease Overlook Park just across from the marina, which the army corps of engineers had put on the economic chopping block.

"We've got a lot of questions, and he's got a lot of questions for us," Carver said. "Come October 1, we're supposed to take it over and go from there."

So the largest boat ramp on the lake is safe. The community's hopes for a growing attraction are sound.

It just goes to show there's more than meets the eye to a late-July festival.