Simply the best: three stories from a memorable weekend

Published 5:00 pm Monday, June 12, 2023

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As I enjoyed the events of the Washington 2023 Summer festival, gratitude filled my heart that the town I lived in was putting on a first class, all-encompassing event. There was something for everyone to do and it was such a wonderful community/county bonding event for all.  I have always loved the Summer Festival but this time I got to share it with new friends of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, some from all over the country. I hardly know where to start talking about how much I enjoyed it. Since I am limited to this column, I’ll share three of my most memorable things.

The first memorable event is about how visitors from Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, California, Utah, New Jersey, New York, and Apex, Durham, Rocky Mount, Raleigh NC came to the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, which was also their first time in Washington. They did not know about the Summer Festival so Milt and I took great joy in telling them about it.  Many of them said they would stay for the festival. Milt and I were enjoying the gospel concert opening night of the festival when the Denver, Colorado visitors came towards us excitedly with big smiles on their faces giving us big hugs. They were so happy they came to the festival. They loved the fact the festival was on the waterfront! The wife said she had never eaten crab before, and she was so excited hoping to get tickets for the crab fest. It was so nice watching them enjoy themselves.

My second most memorable moment was meeting Sean Quinby who is the founder of the Last Alarm Foundation of North Carolina. He brought his beautiful, stately 1942 red fire truck (which immediately caught Milt’s and I attention) to the festival to help share information about his foundation, which is to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty.   But it was Sean’s warm and friendly welcome and sharing why he started his foundation that warmed our hearts. I rushed to call a WDN reporter to get Sean’s story because it was such a powerful one. The reporter will probably share the story with you readers sometime soon.

And my third most memorable time at the festival was the awesome performance Craig Woolard and the Embers did, and then concluding their concert with the song, ‘I’m Proud To be An American’ ending it just as the Bandit Flight Arial Team appeared on the horizon with an amazing flyover light flare tribute. And then there was the spectacular fireworks. Wow!

I don’t have words sufficient enough to thank the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, all the sponsors, and those who made the 40th Anniversary of the Summer Festival so wonderful.  I am so happy I got to share it with newcomers to Washington who had no idea about the festival, but got to experience it and then will go back home with some wonderful memories.

Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, you are simply the best!  Thank you!

Leesa Jones is a Washington native and the co-curator of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.