Holiday season starts with Chocowinity VFD fundraisers

Published 7:18 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — Christmas is coming soon to the town of Chocowinity.

With the first Christmas parade of the year, and Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Christmas Expo coming up on Nov. 17, the holiday season is just around the corner. This, right on the tails of the fire department’s annual barbecue dinner sale.

It’s back-to-back fundraisers for this volunteer department.

“We just love to just keep things interesting,” said Pam Kuers, president of the Chocowinity VFD Auxiliary.

For the past decade, firefighters have started prepping on a Friday and cooking through the night in preparation for the barbecue dinner sale that will start at 11 a.m. Saturday morning on Nov. 10. This year, 600 pounds of potatoes, eight hogs and 14 cases of chicken will make up the $8 plates that also includes coleslaw and hushpuppies, according Chocowinity VFD Chief Tommy Pendley. Plates are barbecue, chicken or a combination of both, and the Auxiliary hosts a bake sale alongside.

The next weekend, the department’s Christmas Expo starts early with vendors selling their wares starting at 7 a.m., along with a pancake and sausage breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Photos with Santa will be available from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and the parade follows, setting off from Chocowinity Middle School at 10 a.m.

The parade will follow a new route this year, up U.S. Highway 17 and circling back through Bragaw Lane — starting and ending at the school.

Chocowinity VFD Auxiliary President Pam Kuers said the expo always draws a large crowd.

“This place is packed,” Kuers laughed. “We look like the Crabtree Mall for a while.”

“A lot of people come before the parade and then go to the parade, then it’s just steady,” Pendley added.

Forty vendors have signed on for the expo — selling jewelry, cosmetics, homemade crafts and more — leading Kuers to find room for more.

“Our (inside) vendor spots are sold out, but we are offering outside spots for $15,” Kuers said.

Though the event serves as the first official Christmas parade of the season, it, like the barbecue dinner sale, is a fundraiser. The money raised through the barbecue dinner sale is used for firefighting equipment, Pendley said. Part of the money raised through the Expo will go to support two families in need this Christmas, Kuers said, with input from those who know which families may be struggling.

“We go through the school system here in Chocowinity, and we ask the principals. They can recommend a lot better than we can — the people who know the inside story of people’s lives,” Kuers said.

Outdoor vendor spots can be reserved by calling Tonya Avery, vice president of the Chocowinity VFD Auxiliary at 252-495-1102, or by visiting the Auxiliary’s Facebook page. Those interested in being a part of the parade can find application forms on the Town of Chocowinity website, the fire department’s Facebook page and at the fire station. Being a part of the parade is free, but participants must fill out an application form. Tickets for the barbecue plate sale can also be purchased by stopping by the station at 512 N.C. Highway 33 East, Chocowinity.