Florence effects linger with canceled events

Published 6:35 pm Friday, September 21, 2018

In the wake of Hurricane Florence, one of Washington’s signature events has been cancelled. Pickin’ on the Pamlico, originally slated for Saturday, will not take place this year. Instead, it will be replaced with another fundraiser in October, according to Meg Howdy, executive director of Washington Harbor District Alliance.

“There was about six inches on the water on the stage at Festival Park (during Florence), and there is not electricity to have that event there,” Howdy said.

WHDA’s Farmers and Artisans Market has also come to an abrupt end. The Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon, market at the corner of Water and Bonner streets will not be held again this season.

“Most of the farms had flooding, and we don’t have produce,” Howdy said. “That was originally scheduled to go through Oct. 13, but now we’re just done.”

At Goose Creek State Park, a popular event scheduled for early November, the Goose Creek Trail Race has been canceled because of damage to the park’s many boardwalks. It was the first year the group was hosting a half-marathon, but the race’s expansion will have to wait until next year, according to park Superintendent Doug LeQuire.

“The boardwalks that we have on our trials experienced more flooding than we have had,” LeQuire said. “The storm surge brought in so much water, and it flooded some boardwalks that had never been flooded before. They floated up; they cracked; they broke, which makes them pretty much impassible. … Even the trails that were minorly impacted are probably going to be closed for a month because the water that’s standing there is going to be mosquito-infested and probably won’t smell too good.”

Included among those is the park’s signature Palmetto Trail.

LeQuire said getting repairs made may be slow-going, as the boardwalks are not only expensive to build, but FEMA will have to do an assessment and decide how much money the agency is going to give the state for the repairs. But he said he believes both the race and the park will make a comeback.

“We’re going to work to make the trails bigger and better and come back strong next year,” LeQuire said.

While Pickin’ on the Pamlico has long been a fundraiser for WHDA, Howdy said that role will go to a Halloween-based event on Oct. 27 this year. In its early planning stages, the event will feature costume contests and a band — and will be held indoors.

“If there are other storms out there, this way we won’t have to worry about crazy weather popping up,” Howdy said.