More than 2,000 people were in Mulberry on Saturday to shop, listen to music and sample food at the city’s first Edamame Festival.
Monica Freeland with the City of Mulberry gave a "best guess" estimate of 2,000-2,500 people who attended the festival, held in Mulberry City Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"A little before 10 a.m. to about 2 o’clock, it was all you could do to see over a head," Freeland said.
Attendance started to "trickle down" after 2 p.m., she said.
"The festival was beyond successful," Freeland said. "I’m calling it phenomenal."
By 11:30 a.m, Raymond Chung, co-owner and chief financial officer with American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame Inc., said his booth, the Edamame Experience, already had given out food samples to about 300 people.
Festival goers sampled chicken salad, bean salad and Cruncha Ma-Me, a healthy freeze-dried version of edamame that is manufactured at the AVSE plant in Mulberry, in a variety of flavors.
"I think it’s the start of something good," Chung said. "We hope to be back here again next year."
Freeland attributed the success of the festival in part to excellent weather and it being one of the first festivals of the season, but there were many people who came for the edamame, she said.
"For a lot of people, it was the first time they tasted it," Freeland said.
While a majority of those at the festival were from Crawford County, many were from around the state and even the country.
Brook Beards came from Fayetteville with his girlfriend Erin Langbein and his two kids, 7-year-old Siddha Estes-Beards and 10-year-old Kele Estes-Beards.
"We heard about it and thought it would be great; it’s a sunny day, support a new event," Beards said. "We love Mulberry."
Langbein added that it was a "fun family thing to do."
Besides the sampling booth, people were able to check out a selection of vendors, enjoy barbecue and roasted corn, listen to some local music, and watch the Edamame Princess pageant.
About 30 vintage cars were on view as part of a car show, while kids were able to play on a bounce around and playground equipment. Mechanical bull rides and a mobile shooting range also provided entertainment.
Aside from slower traffic and a little mud, the only complaint, Freeland said, was the lack of food choices - due in part to a vendor cancelling last minute because of health. The city plans to secure more food vendors for next year’s festival, she said.
"Everyone I talked to had a good time," Freeland said. "It was a beautiful day and people enjoyed it with their families."