As sure as it’s fall, the annual Court Square Street Fair is here again, set to take over the heart of Sampson County with a full slate of activities scheduled for next Saturday, Oct. 10.
The 29th annual Court Square Street Fair and 22nd annual Barbecue Cook-Off, presented by the Clinton Main Street Program and many others, “will be even bigger and better this year” behind the strength of those partnerships, organizers said.
The Main Street Program is partnering with the Sampson Arts Council, the Sampson County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP), the Sampson County History Museum, Sampson County Cooperative Extension, the Downtown Dash 5k, 10k and Fun Run Committee, the Ol’ Lightnin’ Rods Car Club and the City of Clinton.
“We are looking forward to this growing fall event in downtown Clinton,” said Clinton Main Street Program manager Mary Rose. “We encourage event attendees to stop in to visit all our downtown businesses and check out our new ‘Milling Around Downtown Clinton’ T-shirts, which will be in participating stores for this event.”
Activity on the court square starts early, with barbecue judging at 8 a.m., the Downtown Dash 5k, 10k & Fun Run starting at 8:30 a.m. from the Vance Street parking lot and the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Rally beginning at the Main Street stage in front of the “Milling Around” art piece at 9:30 a.m. The walk will end at the Sampson Center, 808 Barden St., where the rally will continue until noon.
As always, the street fair will feature free children’s rides as well as a variety of local entertainment, handmade crafts and other non-profit and business exhibitors. There are close to 70 exhibitors registered, with spaces still available.
The Barbecue Cook-Off, a mainstay at the fair for more than two decades, has 22 competitors this year. Gold sponsors include Murphy-Brown, Prestage Farms and Smithfield and silver sponsors are Hog Slat and Williamson Gas Co.
The Downtown Dash Committee has been working since June to plan its morning races. There will be a timed 5K (3.1 mile) and 10K (6.2 mi) event as well as a 1-mile Fun Run.
“Our committee is so thankful for the 32 generous community sponsors who have invested in our goal to host a fun, athletic event in our city and to help fund our annual project to improve downtown Clinton,” said Downtown Dash Committee chair Alison Carr, who encouraged everyone to sign up to run or walk at www.runtheeast.com. “All 5K and 10K participants will receive a race T-shirt and medal this year.”
The Sampson County Cooperative Extension will have an exhibit where representatives will explain youth leadership opportunities, healthy eating, food safety, agricultural appreciation, gardening tips and the economic impact agriculture has in Sampson. The extension provides university researched-based educational information to residents across North Carolina, focusing on agriculture, youth and families, local Cooperative Extension Director Eileen Coite stated.
For young artists — and those young at heart — the Sampson Arts Council will also have a collage of activities in the park by the “Milling Around” art piece.
Kara Donatelli, executive director of the Sampson Arts Council, said those activities will include the annual “Chalk It Up” Chalk Art Contest from 10 am to 1:30 p.m. There is a $5 fee that includes a box of chalk pastels — for ages 6 and up — with prizes awarded to winners in three age categories.
There will also be face-painting and a “Make & Take” art activity, through which children are invited to create fall-inspired designs with watercolors and take them home. Those activities will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free to participants. Also during that time, winning designs from the 2015 “Design that Truck” contest sponsored by the City of Clinton Public Works Department and the Sampson Arts Council will be unveiled and on display.
As with past years, the street fair is not confined to the court square but extends its way down Lisbon Street to the Clinton City Market, where the Ol’ Lightnin’ Rods Car Show will be held. Participants may register their cars until noon. Oldies 1170 will be on site, broadcasting live with Bob Stroud and the Boogie Shoes Network. And just a little further down Lisbon, the Sampson County History Museum Craft Demonstration Day will provide visitors with a variety of free demonstrations and exhibits throughout the day.
Anyone interested in setting up a booth, should contact Betty Holland at 910-299-4904. To register in the Chalk Art Contest, call Kara Donatelli at 910-596-2533,
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.