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Scuppernong River Festival

Although it was a rainy weekend morning, a small town like Columbia, North Carolina would

not let anything get in the way of the annual Scupernong River Festival. Everywhere I looked,

the streets were busy with people crowding around food trucks, exploring the farmer’s

market set up along the street or simply waiting for the welcoming parade to kick things off.

As the start of the parade drew closer, I could feel the excitement growing all around me.

Even before I had arrived in Columbia to attend the Scuppernong River Festival, the information I had gathered about this event had made me extremely interested in experiencing it for myself. I had learned from the County Manager for Tyrrell County, David

Clegg, that this event had been occurring for nearly 40 years. Clegg told me that it had been created because Tyrrell County had been interested in holding a fair, but due to the small population size, the County was forced to hold a River Festival instead.

By the time the first car drove down the road to begin the parade, downtown Columbia was as

busy as an ant’s nest. The street was so packed with people that I was unsure if the parade

would be able to move down the street! As the parade progressed, the vehicles grew stranger

and stranger. Firetrucks and police cars blared their sirens as they passed, two people rode

by on horses, a man on a tractor drove by, and a convertible drove by with Miss North Carolina

sitting out of it!

As the parade came to a close, I turned my attention to the farmer’s market. The tents ranged from families selling homemade knitted products to environmental programs interested in teaching the public about environmental problems related to Columbia. 

At the end of the farmer’s market, a boardwalk caught my eye. Even though the rain had not stopped, I walked up to the boardwalk and started strolling along it, passing fishermen and other tourists in the process. The splashes as the rain hit the water were mesmerizing to me, and I stood in awe for what felt like hours. Finally, I shook myself awake and turned back around to the festival.

As I walked back to the downtown area of Columbia, the rain had picked up and the lines at the food trucks were even longer. Before I had the chance to get in one of the lines, I saw the man I had spoken with many weeks earlier, County Manager David Clegg! He was not alone, however. In fact, with him were Miss North Carolina, Taylor Loyd, and the North Carolina Rhododendron Queen, Karlee Sanderford, and Clegg quickly introduced me to each of them. 

These women were here to speak to the crowd, and once they had, Miss North Carolina would put on a musical performance. Unfortunately, as Miss NC prepared to sing her first song, the sound crew was having trouble getting the speakers to work. That did not stop her, though. Even when a song that she was not expecting to start playing came on, she laughed it off and got right back into rhythm seconds later. 

Overall, the Scuppernong River Festival was a great experience. Maybe, for some people, the rain messed things up, but the way I see things is that the events were simply changed a bit. For example, had it not been raining, there would have been helicopter rides!

--​Caden Halburg


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