HAMLET – Thousands of people were “all aboard” in downtown Hamlet over the weekend.
An abundance of food, music, arts and crafts, demonstrations, games, and opportunities to learn more about good causes in the community abounded all along Main Street from nine in the morning till 5 p.m. this past Saturday, October 28th.
The opening ceremony for the festival was held at 9 a.m. in front of the Hamlet post office, and featured the color guard from Richmond Senior High JROTC and Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless.
“I had a lot of fun,” exclaimed Sterling Riddick, a volunteer. “I’m still sore from it, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Walking the street of the festival, guests were offered a plethora of eclectic vendors. From collard sandwiches, to a taco truck and the infamous “chicken on a stick,” there was something guaranteed to be enjoyed by all. There was also a large assortment of vendors that offered home décor and seasonal clothing, as well as pottery, among other things.
“If you were looking for it, it’s at the festival,” said Seaboard volunteer John Thornsbury.
“There are unique items everywhere you look,” said Jordyn Chance, festival patron. “The festival is a perfect opportunity to look for holiday gifts.”
Perhaps the air of the day was best epitomized by Miss Emma Bass, who, at 19 months of age, had little to say but seemingly had much to get excited about. “Cruising the Main” in her stroller, Emma was all aglow, mesmerized by the sights and sounds that permeated the surroundings.
Emma Bass enjoys Seaboard Festival 2017.
“She’s having a ball,” said Emma’s grandmother, Tammy Bass. “And she hasn’t stopped staring at everything the whole time we’ve been here.”
Many vendors demonstrated their creations while selling. Goddesses Elemental could be found near Birmingham Drug demonstrating glass blowing. The sold glass blown pieces including jewelry and decorative art. Morgan Harris Pottery could also be found throughout the day creating pieces on a pottery wheel.
“Mountain Mike Myers”, a woodcarver specializing in the use of chainsaws to craft his creations, demonstrated his prowess at a specially-situated section of the library parking area. He carved trains, bears, engineers and many other items.
“I get an idea in my head, I take pictures, and I cut,” Myers said Friday evening while touring the Depot and Museum.
“Mountain Mike Myers” carves up memories for families at Seaboard Festival 2017.
Some of the Main Street businesses remained open for the day, readily welcoming walk-ins to browse through their wares. Two such establishments that experienced bristling traffic in and out were the Hamlet Consignments and Floral Shop and the Central Hotel Antique Outlet.
And, as was fitting and proper for the celebration of the town’s Seaboard Railroad heritage, Greg Shelley’s Train Room was open with all of the model trains fully operational throughout the duration of the event. Shelley himself was highly accommodating to each and every patron, taking time to explain the nuances and details of the multiple train displays essentially filling the space.
Music and entertainment at the two stages were also quite popular. At many times throughout the day there was a crowd of people cheering and listening at both stages. From the music of Simple Things to the dancers from Dance Sensations, there were excellent performances all day long.
A crowd was also created when it was time for the “conductor’s call” contest. Thirteen children and six adults all competed for cash prizes to determine who could sound the most like a conductor.
It would seem that, by all applicable measures and regardless of age or interests, the 35th Hamlet Seaboard Festival was indeed a big hit for all who attended.
C.K. Craven and Stephanie Thornsbury contributed to this story.