It’s been about a decade since there’s been a festival celebration held in Clarkton, but — back in the day — Clarkton’s annual festival drew huge crowds from all around the state.
Started in the early 1950’s as “Farmer’s Day,” the celebration grew and changed names to the “N.C. Tobacco Festival of Clarkton.” That was held until 1997 when the lack of interest to plan it waned. The group reorganized in 1999 with a smaller version of past festivals and changed names again, this time to “Clarkton Farm Fest.”
Farm Fest was held for about ten years, when, once again, volunteers willing to serve on the planning committee became scarce and the presiding group just couldn’t plan and implement it with a handful of people. So, for a little over 10 years, Clarkton has been without a festival.
About a month ago, a small group of Clarkton citizens met with the intent to start back having an annual festival in town. They knew they couldn’t start back up where they left off. They knew they had to plan a scaled-down version this year to get it back on its feet. They knew it was going to be tough starting all over again. But, they also knew they had to do something.
“Our little town of Clarkton has been struggling the last few years to have something positive going on,” Farm Fest Committee Chairman Noel Dennis said. “Farmer’s Day, Tobacco Festival, and Farm Fest always brought people to town to help us celebrate our farmers and to show off our beautiful town. So, that was our starting point — and our goal — for this year.”
Dennis served as the co-chair on the last Farm Fest committee that was held in 2007. Serving with her on this year’s committee are one former member of the Tobacco Festival (from the 1980’s and 90’s), five former members of Farm Fest (from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s), and nine new folks.
“We just spread the word inviting anyone who wanted to come and help plan Farm Fest for this year, and we ended up with an excellent group,” Dennis said. “We’ve been busy!”
The committee decided they would jump in quickly this fall. They have planned a dance on September 28 at the Clarkton Dixie Youth Baseball complex. A very popular local band, “The Pink Slips” (pictured) will be performing. Quite a few of the members of “The Pink Slips” have ties to or still live in Clarkton.
“‘The Pink Slips’ are an awesome band,” Dennis noted. “They play a variety of music genres and always, always put on a good show.”
The band will play from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. (with the gate opening at 6 p.m.), and the outdoor concert will be held at the Clarkton Dixie Youth Baseball Complex at 395 Perimeter Road. Admission is $10 per person. Dennis encouraged all attendees to bring a lawn chair.
Also at the performance on September 28, the Farm Fest committee will have a silent auction with a multitude of gifts donated by local craftsmen and vendors. Throw-back tee-shirts with a past Tobacco Festival logo will be for sale. Concessions will be served. Coolers are permitted, but bottles are not allowed.
“It’s going to be a great night,” Dennis concluded. “It’s also going to be the rebirth of something that has been a Clarkton tradition dating back almost 70 years. We invite everyone to come and join us!”Share: