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Youth Festival set for Saturday

AHOSKIE – Four days from now, Ahoskie will transform itself into a miniature version of the North Carolina State Fair.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, the gates will swing open at the Atlantic District Fairgrounds for the first-ever Summer Youth Festival. Admission is $2 for ages 15-and-over. Those under age 15 are admitted free.

The inaugural event – a collaboration between the Town of Ahoskie along with Hertford County Public Schools (anchored by the &uot;Gear-Up&uot; program), Off Top Barber Shop, Quinton’s Restaurant, the Atlantic District Fair Association, ViQuest and the Carpenter’s Shop – will feature a full day of activities for the young and old alike as well as food, games and rides.

KISS (101.9 FM) will be on hand for a live remote broadcast of the activities.

The amusement rides, hosted by Solid Rock Productions, will feature the Spider Bungee Jump, Rock Climbing Wall, Bungee Run, Moon Walk and Jurassic Adventure Land where participants enter a ancient dinosaur bone yard and use ropes to guide themselves up the rocky terrain to a raging volcano at the mountain’s peak. The trip down is aboard two, 10-foot inflatable slides.

Saturday’s main event features a parachute jump demonstration at 2 p.m. by the U.S. Army’s famed Green Berets from Fort Bragg. Betty Joyner of Tri-County Airport will pilot the Cessna 172 plane and give the &uot;green light&uot; for the jumpers to leap from approximately 8,000 feet.

One hour later (3 p.m.), the second main event begins with tethered hot air balloon rides hosted by Walter Brown of Raleigh.

Also featured will be an OH-58 helicopter courtesy of the North Carolina Army National Guard.

The all-day event (closing at 6 p.m.) also features the Ahoskie Fire Department’s Safety House and Puppet Show, Isabelle the Clown, Juggler Jim, buggy rides, praise teams, step teams, bands and the Ahoskie Police Department’s Bike Rodeo.

The Ahoskie Public Library will present its &uot;Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds&uot; summer youth reading program.

Representatives from Merchant’s Millpond State Park will be on hand for a snakes and birds presentation.

The Ahoskie Recreation Center will have a pitching machine on site as well as hosting other youth activities.

Scotland Neck’s Severn Heights Reptile Presentation is also on the schedule of events.

Ahoskie’s ViQuest Center will feature various health and fitness programs throughout the day while other educational booths will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The official Summer Youth Festival welcome booth will be staffed by the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce.

Those in attendance can also keep a watch for mascots such as Piggly Wiggly’s Mr. Pig, Goldie the Chicken from Golden Skillet, the Bear from Hertford County High School, McGruff representing the Ahoskie Police Department, G.I. Joe from the Army National Guard and Smokey the Bear from the NC Forest Service.

Food, clothes and craft vendors will operate throughout the day.

The Atlantic District Fairgrounds are located on Holloman Ave. off North Catherine Creek Road.

For more information, contact Ahoskie Town Councilman Ronald Gatling at 358-1071 or 209-5458.