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Here is how the Forsythia festival got its start

Thousands of folks will visit Forsyth this weekend for the festivities

FORSYTH, Ga. — The Forsythia festival is coming to downtown Forsyth.

Every great thing starts off as an idea.

Just ask Connie Ham and Cole Davis, they were in on the ground floor for the festivals creation.

"Had no idea what we were getting into it was fun it was exciting and really a new adventure for Monroe County," Davis said.

"I didn't know how much work it would be or what it would turn into," Ham said.

The two have the distinction of saying they helped come up with the Forsythia festival almost four decades ago.

Back in 1984, there was a woman named Elaine Tredwell, she loved Monroe County.

She was just brimming with pride for the area and she got folks together like Ham and Davis and decided to do something big. 

That first meeting happened at 91 West Johnson Street and the so called movers and shakers put great thought into when the town would deck itself out in yellow.

"The group decided we wanted to have it before Cherry Blossom to be the first in and rather than having it down the road and competing with other festivals," Ham said.

They tossed around calling it the Forsyth festival or the Monroe County festival but those just didn't have spunk.

"We were talking to the group about names and she just said the Forsythia bloom about that time so what about Forsythia and everyone without a doubt said that's it, that's it," Ham said.

"To be honest I didn't know what Forsythia was until Elaine looked out the window and said there is Forsythia," Cole said.

It took 18 months to put the plan in motion.

The first festival happened in the city park. 

Davis figures in the first couple of years pretty much the locals just showed up. Now they get well over 20,000 people every early March.

"It's nice to say I was a part of this and I was in the beginning," Davis said.

"Everyone works so hard to make it a good event for the community and for the people and I just think that's a blessing," Ham said.

Elaine Tredwell passed away a couple of years ago but Ham and Davis think she would be pretty proud of how the Forsythia festival has evolved and grown through the years.

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