rally

Dustin Lennon with Renshaw Racing grabs the checkered flag after the team claimed first place in the heavy division during Saturday’s third annual Greenville Lions Club/Lone Star Credit Union Mini Grand Prix. The team also won the lite division and was named Best Dressed Pit Crew.

Organizers of Saturday’s inaugural Rally ‘Round Greenville festival can be sure of a few things.

One, there are a lot of people who will turn out for a bicycle rally.

Two, just as many people will come downtown to take in a full day of food, music and fun.

And three, Renshaw Racing features the fastest attorneys in town.

With that in mind, Greenville Chamber of Commerce executive director Sally Bird said plans are already underway to repeat the festival next year.

“We have had very happy vendors,” Bird said. “The entertainment has been pleasing people to say the least. Overall, I think its wonderful and most everyone I’ve talked has said absolutely they would be back.”

Bird gave much of the credit for organizing the festival to Chamber member Deana Green.

“She’s done a great job in pulling this all together, so she deserves a pat on the back,” Bird said.

Doyle Dick, the City of Greenville Main Street Manager, likewise gave Green applause for her efforts and said the Rally ‘Round Greenville was undoubtedly a success.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” Dick said. “They’ve done a great job and it has been a great event for downtown.”

Saturday’s festival combined the OmniSYS Cotton Patch Classic bicycle race and tour and the Greenville Lions Club/Lone Star Credit Union Mini Grand Prix, along with live musical entertainment, arts and crafts and family activities.

A huge crowd turned out right at the beginning, to watch the more than 700 riders taking part in the Cotton Patch Classic. Full coverage of the bicycle races and tour are featured in today’s sports section.

Most of the spectators and many of the bicycle riders stayed around for all of the other events during the festival, which included a bounce house, pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids, along with continuous dancing and singing on the main stage. There were plenty of food vendors offering everything from hot dogs to barbecue to pizza and nachos.

The day’s second main event was the Grand Prix, where drivers competed in miniature NASCAR-style vehicles, sponsored by local individuals and businesses. The 16 entries battled it out in several elimination heats before the main feature races in both lite and heavy divisions.

The top finisher in both divisions was Renshaw Racing. The team, sponsored by the law offices of Renshaw, Davis and Ferguson, won the heavy division last year and on Saturday also claimed the distinction of “Best Dressed Pit Crew” for the second straight year.

Longbranch Dental came in second in the lite division, with Eagles Marine capturing third place in the division and second place in the heavy division. Greenville Chrysler claimed third place in the heavy division.

Greenville Ford was awarded the honor of having the “Best Looking Car” in the race, while the team from the Herald-Banner won the “Most Spirited Pit Crew” award for the second year in a row.

Along with the title sponsors of the Greenville Lions Club and Lone Star Credit Union, the Grand Prix was also sponsored this year by Innovation First and Greenville Chevrolet.

Friendlee, the master of ceremonies for the Grand Prix, thanked all of the race’s supporters.

“It gets better every year,” he said. “On behalf of the Greenville Lions Club, we cannot do this without you. So, what I’m saying is, we’re going to race next year and we want you back.”

Several downtown businesses decorated their windows in anticipation of the Grand Prix. Dick said the “My Sister’s Closet” resale shop was recognized as having the best display, followed by “Mi Pueblito” and “Greenville Village”.

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