LAUREL HILL — Following the Hobo Festival committee’s decision to cancel this year's event, two Laurel Hill organizations are stepping up with a substitute festival.


LAUREL HILL — Following the Hobo Festival committee’s decision to cancel this year's event, two Laurel Hill organizations are stepping up with a substitute festival.



Safe Haven Horse Rescue Center and the city's volunteer fire department will present "A Day in the Country Life" Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Gene Clary Park.



The Hobo festival's cancellation was due to IRS regulation changes, committee member Betty Williamson said. The city couldn’t attain the tax-exempt status that it needed to have in time for the festival, Williamson said.



"It usually takes several months for it to be approved," she said. 



Safe Haven director Jim Bryan said he wanted to continue the city's tradition.



 "We didn't want to break up that commitment with the community," he said. "People are coming to Laurel Hill expecting there to be a festival on the second Saturday in October."



 Many of the food, merchandise and art vendors from the previous Hobo festival have committed to the so-called semi-Hobo festival, Bryan said.



The event will feature live country music from local musicians. A few rescued animals from Safe Haven will be present, along with Dozer the Therapy Dog, a Great Dane who visits hospice patients and is a Walgreens greeter.



Festival proceeds will support the fire department and Safe Haven, Bryan said.



Although there is no Hobo festival for this year, Williamson said the annual event would return.



"I'm sorry it's not going to happen this year," she said. "We do plan on having (the Hobo festival) for next year."



Want to go?



What: "A Day in the Country Life" Fall Festival



When:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12



Where:  Gene Clary Park, Laurel Hill



Cost: Free admission



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.