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Westobou organizers aim to top last year's inaugural festival

News 12 First at Five, September 15, 2009

AUGUSTA---If you're looking for something to do this weekend, there's a lot going on in our area. The second annual Westobou Festival starts Thursday.

At the Zimmerman Gallery, it's pretty much the most wonderful time of the year.

"It's like Christmas, opening all the boxes that artists send from all over the country," said gallery owner Lou Ann Zimmerman. She's gearing up for the Westobou Festival's ten days of arts and entertainment.

If this year is anything like last, Zimmerman will be more than pleased.

"We saw a big impact in the traffic we got through, especially out of town traffic," she said. "A lot of even locals that had never been downtown before ventured downtown. That was a wonderful thing."

Attendance in 2008 reached more than 100,000 people, with organizers advertising over 150-mile radius.

Now they're hoping new events will bring out even more. This year, Westobou signs won't just appear in Augusta. North Augusta is joining in as well.

Executive director Kathi Dimmock and her team are getting ready for the big day. Dimmock says you won't see the same thing twice from year to year.

"Every year the festival will be different, so hopefully people from outside the area will be excited," she said. "When they leave this year they'll be wanting to know, 'What'll you be doing for 2010?'"

"We're getting calls now asking when it's going to open, and that's a really good thing," Zimmerman said. "That means people are anticipating it, looking forward to it."

And slumping economy or not, this business owner and so many others have high hopes.

The Westobou Festival runs ten days, from this Thursday through the 26th. For a full list of events, click here.

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