HAMLET – The 35th annual Seaboard Festival is less than two weeks away, and the final details are being ironed out for the big day.
The Seaboard Festival, which takes place on Main Street in Hamlet the last Saturday in October, is geared up for another successful year. Set for Saturday, October 28, festival-goers can check out the sights and sounds from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Volunteers for the festival will get started much earlier than that, as they can be found on Main Street guiding vendors with color coded maps at 5:30 in the morning.
“‘It’s my favorite weekend of every October, and I literally cannot wait another day,” exclaimed Sterling Riddick, who will be a volunteer this year.
According to the City of Hamlet, the Seaboard Festival brings approximately 35,000 people to Hamlet every year. This year, the festival will feature over 200 vendors, which is a far cry from when the festival started in 1982. At that time, it only had 16 vendors.
“I look forward to doing this every year,” said Jack Thornsbury, a youth volunteer. “I love seeing so many people visiting Hamlet.”
The opening ceremony for the festival is slated to begin at 9 a.m. in front of the Hamlet Post Office. The ceremony will feature the color guard from Richmond Senior High School’s JROTC program, as well as remarks by Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless.
New vendors to the festival this year include “Mountain Mike” Ayers, who uses a chainsaw to carve pieces of wood into beautiful art. Ayers will be cutting and carving throughout the day.
“Seeing (Mike) in action, making these amazing creations, is mind-blowing,” Seaboard treasurer Deb Holmes said of Ayers. “He is a true artist.”
There is even a chance to win one of Ayers’ carved art pieces. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Hamlet Public Library for $1. The drawing will be held at 4 p.m., with all proceeds from the raffle sales going to the non-profit group Friends of the Hamlet Library.
There are also many more new vendors, as most vendors will be selling homemade items. Many woodcarvers, crafters, jewelry designers, potters, and renovators will be selling their wares throughout the street.
“In order to be considered a craft vendor, they must make something,” said former Seaboard President Kim Lindsey. The Seabord Festival is filled with unique crafts, gifts and home décor.
New food vendors will also be on the street for the festival. Guests walking throughout the festival can expect to find crab cakes, tacos, collard sandwiches, and of course, the famous “chicken on a stick.”
During the festival, there will be music throughout the day on both sides of Main Street. Performers can be found onstage at the old A&P parking lot and near the Hamlet Depot. The festival car show will be held behind the Hamlet Visitor Center and feature antique vehicles. Trophies will be given as prizes for the car show.
Another popular event at the Seaboard Festival is the annual Conductor’s Call. Children and adults test their pipes for a chance to win a monetary prize for the top three spots. This activity will take place on Main Street Park at 3 p.m.
Seaboard Festival visitors can find up-to-date information regarding the festival by downloading the “Hamlet Happenings “app, which is currently available for iOS and Android devices. Volunteers are adding new information and times for the Seaboard Festival now and will be completely ready to help visitors find the performers, food, and crafts they are looking for on festival day.