Oct. 21--NICEVILLE -- Ruth Schofield sat in a camping chair in a crowd of about 700 people Sunday afternoon while enjoying some gospel music at the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival.
View photos of the weekend's musical act >>
The 61-year-old woman said she grew up in Niceville and has been attending the festival, which is in its 37th year, for decades.
She and her husband were posted up by the stage. They planned to stay at least until after country star Vince Gill played early that evening.
"Every year, it's gotten bigger," Schofield said.
This year, about 40,000 people attended the festival during its three-day run, said Lonnie Corbin, Niceville's city manager and the festival's organizer. Friday night's crowd broke the record for attendees on the event's opening day.
Corbin was born and raised in Niceville and has been putting together the city's tribute to the "lowly mullet" every year since it started. Niceville, where the population is about 13,000 people, more than triples in size for the Mullet Festival each year.
Corbin said the festival is like a reunion.
"I get to see old friends that I grew up with and we just sort of celebrate here together," Corbin said. "Folks come from all over the country, especially folks who graduated from high school here. They see each other once a year -- at the Mullet Festival."
Sunday, the festival's final day, is geared towards families. The beer tents shut down and the evening wraps up earlier than the other nights, which is what drew Christina Zeisler, who lives in Crestview.
The 28-year-old sat under a shade tree on Sunday afternoon with her husband and two sons, ages 2 and 7. They have been coming to the festival for more than a decade.
"The kids like to do the rides and we like to walk around and look at all the crafts," she said.
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