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SPRING HOPE — This usually sleepy town will be wide awake this weekend as thousands of people are expected to descend on the small southern Nash County municipality for the 48th annual Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.
Beach music with The Embers featuring Craig Woolard headlines the event Friday night with several acts lined up to perform Saturday.
The two-day fun includes street dancing, inflatable attractions, food trucks, around 40 arts and craft vendors and the chamber tent will offer souvenir T-shirts, visors and caps, said Allen Barbee, president of the Spring Hope Area Chamber of Commerce.
Barbee has been involved with the festival in some form or fashion since the first event when he drove the grand marshal in the inaugural parade.
This year’s parade gets rolling just after lunch Saturday with grand marshal Kat Campbell from WRAL-TV.
The festival is all about pumpkins, of course, so there will be a pumpkin-weighing contest, a pumpkin-decorating contest and a pumpkin recipe contest.
Started in 1971 by Ralph Bass, Elmo Tant and the Spring Hope Area Chamber of Commerce, the pumpkin festival promotes small businesses and celebrates the fall harvest. An estimated 5,000 people attended the first festival. In recent years, attendance has topped 36,000.
The Embers take the stage at 7 p.m. Friday. Known as North Carolina’s Ambassadors of Music, The Embers’ hits include “I Love Beach Music” and “Summertime’s Calling Me.”
Russ James will perform from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday on the Depot Deck. James is originally from Wilmington and has been writing songs and performing for more than three decades.
The Nigel Experience closes out the party from 2-5 p.m. Saturday. The band specializes in R&B, soul, Motown, funk and top 40.
Carolina Mudcats mascot Muddy the Mudcat will be walking around the festival Saturday.
A 50/50 raffle will be held Saturday. Tickets will be available for purchase at the chamber tent throughout the day with a 4 p.m. drawing.
Most of the activities take place downtown around the Railroad Street public area. Call the Spring Hope Chamber of Commerce at 252-478-1919 for more information.
Pumpkin Festival Guide
Look inside this week’s edition of The Enterprise for your copy of the 2019 Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival program, featuring a map of the parade route and more information on festival attractions.
Performers for the 48th annual Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival include:
5:30-7 p.m. — Wilders Corner Band on Depot Deck
7-10 p.m. — The Embers with Craig Woolard on Main Stage
9-10 a.m. — DJ Andrew Cone on Depot Deck
10 a.m. to noon — Russ James on Depot Deck
2-5 p.m. — The Nigel Experience Band on Main Stage