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Heritage Day prompts tears of joy

AHOSKIE – Linda Blackburn said she almost cried.

And that’s a good thing because those tears would be ones for joy.

After tinkering with Heritage Day for the past four years, Blackburn, Mayor of Ahoskie and one of the major organizers of this annual event, now feels like it has etched its place in the future of her town.

The 2008 Ahoskie Heritage Day, held this past weekend, has drawn rave reviews for the first time in its five-year history. Attendance was way up over previous years, despite hard economic times and the ever-rising price of gas.

“All of us on the Heritage Day Committee knew we needed to turn the corner this year or devise another plan,” Blackburn said on Sunday evening. “Looking at the success we had this year, we feel that Heritage Day has arrived. Now we’ve got to go out and top this year with something even bigger and better for 2009.”

Blackburn was quick to credit all those involved in the planning and staging of this event for its success.

“What a great group of people to work with….the volunteers and our Town of Ahoskie employees, they all came together and put on one heck of a show,” Blackburn said. “They all worked extremely hard to make this festival what is was and what it will be down the road.”

The Mayor also sang the praises of the food and craft vendors and the musical entertainers. Plus, it didn’t hurt to benefit from the great weather.

“We haven’t been too lucky in past years with the weather, but this year was fantastic,” Blackburn noted. “That, plus having some really great bands and having our new amphitheater opened really attracted the crowds.”

She continued, “I almost cried Friday night when I kept watching the crowd grow. I kept looking across that field and the people kept coming and coming. It was the same thing on Saturday. People just kept coming. I turned to my town manager (Tony Hammond) and told him Heritage Day had finally arrived.”

Over at another portion of the Heritage Day grounds, the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association was holding two events on Saturday. The crowds turned out for those as well, helping the Guardian Care Relay for Life team raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

“Everything went great…the backyard barbecue cook-off, the rodeo, the basketball tournament,” Blackburn observed. “Everywhere I looked I saw people enjoying themselves and that’s what we’ve wanted with this festival since its inception.

“Now I feel we’ve taken Heritage Day to the next level,” Blackburn closed. “We will continue in our effort to make this the best little festival in all of North Carolina. The best is still yet to come.”