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Folkston’s Okefenokee Festival will go on Saturday without the swamp

Special to SEGAZINE

Saturday’s Okefenokee Festival will be held Saturday without the customary admission to the celebration’s namesake swamp.

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge announced Monday the government shutdown has compelled it to cancel its two events, Pioneer Days at the Chesser Island homestead and a ribbon-cutting for the reopening of the island’s boardwalk that was destroyed by the massive Honey Prairie Fire in 2011.

“It is our hope that we will be able to open our doors and gates to visitors soon,’’ said refuge manager Michael Lusk. “We are saddened to have to cancel this event, but hope to reschedule when we are able to come back to work.”

The rest of the show in Folkston will go on as planned, however, and officials don’t know how much impact the refuge closure will have on visitation to the downtown festival. They are hoping not much.

“It’s a community sponsored event,’’ with a lot of effort put into getting people downtown, said Dawn Malin, executive director of the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce in Folkston.

Although she said there’s “bit of a split’’ between events in town and the refuge, Malin said a lot of people don’t manage to get to both in one day.

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