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SPRING HOPE — The Embers brought out a huge crowd Friday night at the 48th annual Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.
“I came to see Craig Willard,” said Kathy Johns, a Roanoke Rapids resident and big beach music fan.
She — like hundreds of folks — danced the night away on Main Street as Woolard and his band played a set of classic shag tunes sprinkled with pop hits like Pink’s “Let’s Get This Party Started.”
Everything fell into place for the best festival in at least five years, according to organizers.
Even the weather cooperated. The festival has seen its share of rain in the last few years, including a downpour in 2016 thanks to Hurricane Matthew. But the skies were clear and the thermometer dropped 14 degrees from Thursday into Saturday morning with a cool breeze Friday night that complimented the Embers’ style.
“The weather couldn’t have been better,” said Allen Barbee, president of the Spring Hope Chamber of Commerce.
The fun continued into a second day with the ever-popular parade and a popular performance by the Nigel Experience Band.
Barbee said he thought the Saturday crowd was about average in size, but other organizers said the day saw a larger than usual crowd.
Every vendor spot was sold and parade slot filled, organizers said.
Spring Hope Police Chief Nathan Gant said the festival went off without a hitch. There were no citations, arrests or injuries during the event.
Planning is already underway for next year’s festival.
More Photos Online
Find this story on SpringHopeEnterprise.com to see more images from the 2019 Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.
2019 Pumpkin Festival Recipe Contest
First place winner: Emily Skinner
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Ingredients: 2 cups pumpkin puree, chilled; 2 cans 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk; 2 boxes 3.4 oz. instant cheesecake pudding and pie filling; 2 tsp. vanilla extract; ¼ tsp. salt; 6 tbsp. brown sugar; 1 tsp. cinnamon; ½ tsp. nutmeg; ¼ tsp. cloves; ¼ tsp. ginger; 4 cups heavy whipping cream; ½ cup crushed graham cracker pie crust
Instructions: Bake a store-bought, premade graham cracker pie crust by the package directions. After it cools completely, break it into small pieces and then crush them in a food processor until you achieve a sand-like texture.
Blend with a hand mixer in a bowl the pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, instant cheesecake pudding and pie filling, vanilla extract, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger until well blended.
Pour heavy whipping cream into a bowl or stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for about four or five minutes until medium peaks are achieved.
Fold in condensed milk/pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream. Mix mixture on medium speed for about 1 minute until heavy peaks are achieved.
Transfer ice cream mixture into a freezer safe container. I used a 7 ½-by-5-by-5 container. Alternate layers of crushed graham crackers and ice cream mixture. Finish with a layer of crushed graham cracker on top.
Cover ice cream mixture with plastic wrap or wax paper to seal and prevent the ice cream from becoming crystallized. This will keep it soft and creamy, Add top of container.
Freeze overnight. Makes about 8 servings.