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Summer Festival famous for food, fun

As they did at the 2011 Summer Festival, the Craig Woolard Band will open the festivities, performing on the Festival Park stage beginning at 7 p.m. tonight. (Contributed Photo/Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce)

One of Washington’s signature festivals — and one of its oldest festivals — returns today and tomorrow to Washington’s waterfront.

The 29th-consecutive Summer Festival officially kicks off at 5 p.m. today, but if you show up earlier and the food vendors have passed their inspections, you should be able to buy an Italian sausage, ice cream or lemonade before the official opening.

The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Summer Festival is organized by the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber uses profits from the festival to help pay for its programs such as Leadership Beaufort, Job Shadow Day, Business Expo and the like.

“We have a lot of local vendors and nonprofits this year which has been great for this festival. We have been working toward that the past couple of years, and this year we have the most we have had in years,” said Catherine Glover, executive director of the chamber, on Thursday. “We have about 99 vendors with all kinds of arts and crafts, nonprofits selling food, food vendors and others. We have a Kids Zone this year, which is new. Our local Lowe’s store is going to be at the Festival Park as part of the Kids Zone, and they will be doing crafts with kids all day for free. We also will have face painting, Joy the clown, Inner Banks Storytellers, Cheer Extreme with a demo, an aikido presentation and Eternal Collision, which is a feats-of-strength presentation. … This is all free for children. Also, Block Fest is happening at the First Presbyterian Church, and it is put on by Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children.”

Glover said Thursday’s preparations went great.

“Things are different this year with the utilization of Festival Park and the closure of Respess Street, so the festival is going to look different than in the past,” she said. “Rides will be in the chamber parking lot and in the parking lot across from Festival Park, and bands are at Festival Park. During the day, Festival Park is the Kids Zone. We have done a lot of maneuvering this year to make it work. This is a community event, and we are thankful for all the support of the volunteers, City of Washington, downtown businesses and homeowners and especially PotashCorp-Aurora for their sponsorship of the festival.”

In the past several days, activities such as marking booth locations, setting up 21 power pods, bringing in portable restrooms and providing potable water to food vendors have been under way. Later today, inspections by health-department officials and public-safety personnel will be made to help protect the public’s health and safety. (Learn more about this in Sunday’s Washington Daily News.)

The design for this year’s Summer Festival T-shirts includes an image of the stage at Festival Park, which will be dedicated June 15.

Today’s schedule

  • Summer Festival T-shirts at corner of Stewart Parkway and South Respess Street, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
  • Food, arts and crafts, amusements (rides and games), Stewart Parkway, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
  • Craig Woolard Band, sponsored by PotashCorp-Aurora, Festival Park stage, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule

  • Summer Festival T-shirts at corner of Stewart Parkway and South Respess Street, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Food, arts and crafts, amusements (rides and games), Stewart Parkway, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Kids Zone at Festival Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children Block Fest at First Presbyterian Church, 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Washington Evening Rotary fishing tournament at Havens Gardens.
  • Victor Hudson Band, sponsored by PotashCorp-Aurora, Festival Park stage, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Jupiter Jones, sponsored by PotashCorp–Aurora, Festival Park stage, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

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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