More people were in Dadeville on Saturday for the fall festival and Ducky Ward and Pops Ward Soap Box Derby than the population of the city’s 3,000 residents. 

About 3,500 to 4,000 people attended the festival, according to Dadeville Mayor Wayne Smith. 

Dadeville vendor Grace Talton answered visitors’ questions on ordering a custom shirt at the event. At the end of the conversation, she assured them she could make them a shirt in the next few weeks that had a University of Auburn print.

“I like coming and doing this because there’s a lot of people in the community,” Talton said. “It seems like everybody comes out and supports the community through the festivals.”

Talton’s booth for her shirt and towel business, Lake Martin Goodies, was one of many selling handmade items at the festival in downtown Dadeville.

Mindful Creations vendor Shenita Finley sold a variety of hair bows, purses and colorful cloth pumpkins. She said the event had a good turnout.

“My mom made (the pumpkins),” Finley said. “She got creative with them of different patterns and size.”

Due to construction around the courthouse square, the festival was held along Tallassee Street. Dadeville resident Tom Decker said this was the third time he’s attended the festival and enjoyed the layout this year.

“It’s so much more,” Decker said. “It seems so much more fun. You’ve got so much more to see up and going down.”

In addition to food and craft vendors there was a car show and a kids zone that featured a mechanical bull.

“(The mechanical bull) was pretty interesting,” Talton said. “That wasn’t here last year.”

Visitors Debbie and Rory Gibson were driving by when they saw the car show when Rory wanted to stop.

“He saw the cars and he’s like, ‘OK we got to hit here,’” Debbie Gibson said. “It’s very nice. I love this little community.”

Debbie Gibson said she and her husband decided to make a whole day of the event.

Smith said by noon Saturday he received a lot of compliments and met a lot of people attending for the first time.

“Everybody seems to have a good time,” Smith said. “The weather is cooperative. It’s fantastic.”

Smith said he enjoyed seeing everyone attending having a good time.

“It’s great,” Smith said. “We have a big crowd down at Pennington Park for the soap box derby.”

The third annual Ducky Ward and Pops Ward Soap Box Derby was held on Spring Street next to Pennington Park. About 20 to 23 racers participated this year, according to organizer James Ward.

“The race went very well,” Ward said. “We had a few wrecks, which everybody was OK thank God. But it was very competitive racing. Everything went good.”

Autumn Angell, 12, won the soap box derby in the 7-to 13-year-old division. Brady Knox placed second and William Camp was third. 

Angell competed for the first time in the race and said it felt pretty good to win.

“I (raced because I thought) it would be a cool project to work on,” Angell said. “My friend is in it and her dad and us made cars.”

Camp never raced before either and made a shark car because it is his favorite animal.

“I think I did pretty good,” Camp said.

In addition to prizes for first, second and third place, the event awarded “creative build” to Drake Dennis for his car. The drivers voted Knox “best in show” and the organizers gave “most courageous” to Madelyn Heard because she got back up after her car wrecked.

“It’s something that my father (Marrell Ward) put his heart and soul into, my father passed away with cancer in the past year,” Ward said. “It was something he spent every day 10 to 12 hours a day on these race cars, getting them ready, trying to get (children interested in) something other than a computer or TV and to do it with love.”