NORMAN — Mayor Kenneth Broadway is hoping this year’s Norman Fest will be the biggest in its 10-year run.
With two live bands, helicopter rides and dinosaurs among the attractions, Broadway said Wednesday that he’s heard from several people from other areas of the state who say they plan to make their way to Richmond County’s northernmost town.
“There are people coming that’s never been to Norman before,” he said. “If it don’t rain us out, this’ll be the biggest crowd ever.”
While weather has plagued the fall festival in the past, the skies look mostly clear for Saturday, with a 30% chance of showers on Sunday.
“I know we need the rain, I want the rain, I just don’t want it Saturday,” Broadway said.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. with the Randy Clay Band taking the Norman Stage at noon.
The band’s song “One More” moved up to No. 39 on the October Smokin’ 45 chart at beachmusic45.com.
Beach music legends Jim Quick and Coastline will headline Norman Fest from 3-6 p.m.
Broadway said the N.C. Zoo will be returning as part of the attractions for the younger festivalgoers. In the past, the zoo has brought live animals, including an owl and a snake so kids can get up close and personal with the wildlife.
New to the festival this year is the Dakota and Friends travelling dinosaur exhibit.
“I just wanted something different, something kid-friendly,” Broadway said.
While searching for new attractions for Norman Fest, the mayor said he looked online for dinosaurs “and they popped up.”
Charlotte Helicopters will also be returning to take folks on 5-minute flight around the area. This will be the ninth year the company has participated in Norman Fest and Broadway said the helicopter has “always been the biggest draw.”
Also included in the more than 60 vendors will be a chainsaw artist, a booth selling fresh produce and, of course, the food vendors, which Broadway thanked for coming year after year.
“They’ve got to get past the food critic … and that’s me,” he said, jokingly.
There will also be a classic car show.
Broadway said there’s no entry fee: “Just bring your car and show it off.”
The glow run, which had been a part of the festival for the past several years, was cancelled for 2019 due to lack of interest, he said.
The event is free and open to the public.