Fossil Festival a hit with Aurora faithful

Published 8:11 pm Thursday, May 31, 2012

The giant Got to be NC shopping cart, featuring the Piggly-Wiggly mascot, makes its way down Main Street on Saturday morning during the Aurora Fossil Festival parade. For more photos of the festival, see Sunday’s Daily News. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

AURORA — Rain showers fell on the parade, but that did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those attending the Aurora Fossil Festival.

The parade, held Saturday morning, was a highlight of the 19th-annual festival, which began Friday evening and concluded Sunday. The festivities were hosted by the Town of Aurora, the Aurora Fossil Museum and the Aurora-Richlands Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Clif Williams led a procession of elected officials, and those who hope to win elections later this year, as the parade made its way down Main Street. Also featured were 2012 Fossil Master B.J. Blake, groups from Southside High School and Pamlico High School, veterans, classic cars and entries sponsored by churches, businesses and civic organizations.

The weekend’s activities included a Memorial Day weekend salute to America’s veterans, live entertainment, a 5K run, fossil digs and auction, educational exhibits, car show, children’s carnival rides, lawnmower pulls and bus tours of the PotashCorp-Aurora mines.

“We’re proud to be a big part of the Fossil Festival,” said Ray McKeithan, the company’s manager of public affairs and governmental affairs. “It’s fun to see so many people, young and old, searching for fossils as they dig through piles of mined reject materials!”

PotashCorp-Aurora is a longtime supporter of the Fossil Festival, providing financial support as well as fresh-mined materials brimming with fossils and sharks’ teeth that draw enthusiasts of all ages.

“We see this as a great opportunity for outreach and a chance to educate folks about what we do here in Aurora,” McKeithan said. “The bus tours of our site are popular, and we’re grateful for the interest people have in our operations.

Congratulations to the Fossil Festival team for organizing another great event.”

More than two-dozen volunteers are required to pull off the three-day event, according to Wayne Sawyer, festival chairman. In addition, arts and crafts vendors provided unique shopping opportunities, offering up such diverse items as shark T-shirts, handcrafted jewelry, toys, painted glassware, key chains, wreaths, birdhouses and yard art.

For more on the Aurora Fossil Festival, see Sunday’s Pamlico Horizons feature.