Around two thousand people walked through downtown Statesboro enjoying food, live music and local vendors Friday night in the first-ever summer event, BoroFest.

Over a couple drinks and cigars, local entrepreneurs and friends, AJ Jetwani and Michael Blackmon decided they wanted to do something cool in the area.

“In our minds, it was just going to be a couple bands at our places [of business], and we had a meeting the following week with the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority,” said Blackmon. “They kind of put a fire under this thing. It escalated pretty quickly.”

Through phone calls to friends and friends-of-friends in the community, they were able to find 70 vendors selling everything from flowers to jewelry to snow cones and found a few live bands.

“I mean, we could have come up with the idea, but if we didn’t have the support from the community then nothing could’ve happened,” said Jetwani.

In addition, there were bounce houses, a rock wall, a dunk tank, a mechanical bull and axe throwing.

Credit: Grice Connect

“Every age group, there was something for everybody there,” said Blackmon.

“This is where we work, this is where we play, this is where we live,” said Jetwani. “I mean, if we’re not reinvesting back into our own community, then what are we doing?”

Jetwani and Blackmon’s families both came out to see the finished product, the community block party called BoroFest. Jetwani’s family even took off work and drove 16 hours to visit.

“I was glad they were coming out, but I was like, dang this better be good,” said Jetwani.

Credit: Grice Connect

“We wanted to create this atmosphere where people can get together, especially the locals in the community that live here throughout the year… and really just kind of give back to community,” said Jetwani. “We have a perfect downtown space for that. I think we need to just utilize it to the best of our abilities.”

The pair hopes that they can make BoroFest a recurring annual event after seeing this year’s success. They said they were already coming up with ideas for a fall event as well.

“AJ and I got to the top of East Vine Street and looked down, it was something pretty magical,” said Blackmon. “We got two thousand thank-you’s on Friday night.”

Proceeds from the event went towards the Averitt Center for the Arts.