Hot tamales:Old Orchard Park electrical grid in place just in time for annual festival

Burlon Wilkerson

Festival attendees and vendors at events in Diboll’s Old Orchard Park can now experience added convenience and greater safety with installation complete on the new electrical grid.  Outlets for vendor booth spaces or other electrical needs are finally in place.
City Code Enforcement Officer Bryant McCollum provided a diagram last week which indicated where the outlets are located.  They are arranged on each side of the walking path just north of Pavilion No. 1 where vendors usually set up for events like Diboll Day or the Tamale Festival.
“Each pedestal can service two booths, and there are 48 outlets available,” McCollum said.
Every one is on a different 20-amp circuit breaker, and there are two main breakers, each controlling half the grid. With this arrangement one overloaded outlet will not trip the breaker for the entire grid. Consequently, power will not be interrupted to other booth spaces.
“Vendors will be more or less limited by the 20-amp load, but that’s usually plenty for most of them,” McCollum said.  “Sometimes, if the space next to them requires less, they can use a little more.  But we advise them that if they’re going to exceed the load, we just cannot accommodate them.”
Installation of the grid was initiated at the urging of community members. The city secured a Keeler grant of $30,000, but during the design process and in advertising for bids on the work, it was determined that additional money would be needed to do the job adequately. So City Council voted to add another $30,000 of city funds to finance the project.
Although a light over the seating area at the amphitheater was installed, nothing else in addition to the outlet pedestals was included in the project. McCollum said he did not know of any plans at the present for lighting in the pavilions or along the walking path between the park and the civic center.
“This is sure going to make for a safer environment at festivals,” McCollum said. “Each outlet is equipped with a ground fault interrupter that will trip the breaker in case of water on the ground. And we shouldn’t have to contend with portable generators or wires running in trees.”
For additional safety, the main breakers will be shut off and locked up so that outlets will not have power except during events.