HAMLET – All aboard for the 35th annual Seaboard Festival.
The small town may not be on every map there ever was, but on Saturday, October 28, the City of Hamlet will certainly earn its mark. The city will swell in size as it hosts the 35th annual Seaboard Festival. The all-day event, lasting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is expected to host between 30-35,000 people.
The day’s festivities will begin with the 33rd annual Seaboard Festival 5K race, which kicks off at 8 a.m. near the Calvary Baptist Church on McDonald Avenue. Participants will race head-to-head as they run 3.1 miles through the streets of Hamlet. The first 250 finishers will each receive a commemorative finisher medal, and everyone who pre-registers will receive an event t-shirt in their race bag. The cost for this race is $25 now through the October 15, after which registration fees increase.
The Seaboard Festival gates will open and attendees will be free to shop and eat their way through the festival’s four city blocks of attractions. This year’s festival will host over 200 hundred vendors selling everything from wooden crafts and home décor, to clothing, jewelry, and all of the toys, games, and knick-knacks in between.
Although the range of goods sold at the event will surely include something for everyone, there is one large commonality amongst the vendors. According to Seaboard Festival President Kim Lindsey, the vendors for the event are almost predominately local craftsman who sell handmade goods and products.
Lindsey expressed that they try to stay close to their craft nature as a way to preserve the festival’s history.
“The festival started in 1982 as a way to highlight industry through RCC,” Lindsey said. “And with RTI, it was about the heritage of the railroad through the town and what the town represented. It was a small, little festival with some vendors on the sidewalk and has since grown into what it is today.”
It is for that reason that Seaboard Festival organizers limit the number of commercial vendors to just 30. These commercial vendors are then issued spots based upon a lottery system. Lindsey later explained that although it is difficult to turn away vendors, honoring the festival’s heritage is more important.
The Seaboard Festival would not be complete without its entire day of entertainment. There will be two entertainment stages hosting performances all day long. The lower stage will mainly feature dance performances, while the upper stage will feature the festival’s live music performances.
To round out the day’s entertainment, attendees are welcome to explore the Seaboard Festival car show, to be held in the grass adjacent to the Hamlet Train Depot. Festival goers wishing to become a part of the day’s entertainment are also welcome to participate in the Conductor’s Call Contest, where challengers can earn a cash prize for donning a conductor’s cap and yelling their best “all aboard!” call to passengers.
On site will be 30 food vendors at this year’s Seaboard Festival, providing plenty of ribs, brisket, and BBQ to go around. Plus, what street festival would be complete without fan favorites such as pizza, gourmet hot dogs, and fresh squeezed lemonade? Twisted Treats and Kona Ice will also be at the event to round out what Lindsey calls, “really interesting food options for this year.”
“We are always asking ourselves what we can do to make the event better,” Lindsey stated. She explained that each year her and her team look for new and fresh ideas that can keep the history of the festival alive, while also keeping things fresh and new. For this year’s festival, organizers have lined up two new and exciting elements.
The first is the Amazi’N Blazi’N Fire Truck. This unique attraction will include a fire truck and a gigantic, fire themed inflatable. By purchasing a wristband, children will be able to take enter the Amazi’N Blazi’N Fire Truck play area, where they can ride on the fire truck, play in the inflatable, and learn valuable information about fire safety.
Also new to the Seaboard Festival this year is a live wood carver. Using only a chainsaw, the wood carving artist will create six to eight statues throughout the festival. All pieces will then be given to the Seaboard Festival, who will later donate them to various community organizations for use with their individual fundraising efforts. This added event element is just another example of how the Seaboard Festival continually strives to give back to the community.
With so many things to do and see, there is no doubting that the 35th Annual Seaboard Festival will be the highlight of the fall season.
For more information on the 35th Annual Seaboard Festival, visit www.seaboardfestival.com, or find their official event page, The Seaboard Festival, on Facebook.