Bluegrass festival OK’d

Published 7:22 pm Friday, March 16, 2012

There’s a good chance the “Orange Blossom Special” will visit Washington on May 20.

During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council cleared the track for the arrival of the inaugural Beaufort County Bluegrass Festival at the city’s Festival Park from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 20. The Beaufort County Pirate Club is organizing of the event, which is expected to feature three bands. The club plans to charge $10 per ticket.

Amy Ward, the new president of the club, explained plans for the festival to the council. Ward said the bluegrass festival would closely mimic the beach-music festival held annually on the waterfront.

The council gave its OK with a 3-2 vote. As they have done with similar requests involving the sale and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages on city property, council members Doug Mercer and Bobby Roberson voted against the proposal.

The two council members said they have no problem with the festival, other than allowing alcoholic beverages there. Council members Ed Moultrie Jr., Richard Brooks and William Pitt voted for the proposal.

The club’s proposal calls for allowing concert-goers to bring canned beer in coolers to the festival.

“We don’t want to sell alcohol or anything like that. We’d like to control the docks on the end of Festival Park to keep people from coming in … off boats without paying,” Ward said. “We’d like for people to be able to bring in canned drinks and beer. Everything else is pretty much straight-forward.”

The club plans to help bring more than 500 children to meet and play with at least eight NFL players, provide free hot dogs and have Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University’s head football coach, participate in the event, according to the proposal.

In other business, the council approved the city contracting with the Mid-East Commission, a regional planning organization that serves the area, to write the city’s draft bicycle master plan. The contract is for $35,000, which reflects a $28,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Transportation and $7,000 in city funds. The Recreation Advisory Committee recommended the contract be awarded to Mid-East Commission.

DOT’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, the Recreation Advisory Committee and City Council will review the draft, possibly suggesting changes, before the draft becomes the final plan. The public will have several opportunities to review and comment on the draft.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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