Come one….come all!
AHOSKIE – It has been referred to as Ahotskey, Ohoskie, Hoskie and by numerous other versions of its name.
No matter how it’s spelled, Ahoskie is “The Only One” of that name in the entire world and the town will celebrate its proud past and exciting future during the 10th annual Heritage Day Festival on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14 at the Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater.
Admission is free and so is the parking.
No matter what type of entertainment one seeks, Heritage Day has tons to offer…from music, to amusement rides, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament (registration begins at 12 noon on Saturday), horseshoes competition (1-3 p.m. on Saturday), horse drawn equipment/antique tractor demonstrations, children’s games, and a huge display of fireworks (9:15 p.m. on Saturday).
If one seeks to satisfy their hunger pains, Heritage Day features multiple food vendors. Those menus include ‘burgers, hot dogs, apple/potato jacks, pretzels, nachos, fried crab, Italian sausage, barbecue, chicken, and fish along with plenty of soft drinks, smoothies, orangeade, lemonade and home-churned ice cream.
Hunting for unique items? If so, be sure to browse the display areas of numerous arts and crafts vendors.
There promises to be an assortment of games and activities for the children on Saturday afternoon.
For the adults looking for some fun, stop by the Big Tent for an evening of BINGO from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, an event sponsored by the Women’s Division of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce.
Every festival needs a parade. Heritage Day has one beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, traveling west on Main Street, to Pembroke Ave. and onward to the festival grounds. There are cash prizes ($300 – 1st place; $200 – 2nd place; and $100 – 3rd place) for the best entries, based on originality, overall appearance and relevance to the history and cultural heritage of Ahoskie.
Andrea Blanford, anchor of 9 On Your Side Morning Edition and 9 On Your Side at Noon, will serve as the Celebrity Grand Marshal during the parade.
The annual Heritage Day 5K Run, sponsored by ViQuest, leads off the parade (starting point is in front of the Ahoskie Town Hall). Call 252-209-3090 to enter.
Another popular event at Heritage Day is the annual Backyard BBQ Cook-off. That is scheduled to get underway at 10 p.m. on Friday where the competitors will fire-up their grills and began the slow process of roasting whole hogs over hot coals. Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and showmanship. Cash awards, trophies and plaques will be awarded.
Once the cooking process is complete, all that pork will be finely chopped, seasoned and served with all the traditional trimmings (potatoes, slaw and hushpuppies) from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. Plates are priced at $8 in advance or $10 on the day of the event with proceeds benefitting the Ahoskie Public Library. Tickets can be purchased from any Ahoskie Library Board Trustee or at the Ahoskie Public Library.
Heritage Day also features an Art Show at the Fellowship Hall of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. That Saturday event runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Along with perennial local favorites, a group from the Blackwater Artist League and several members of the Bertie Arts Council will be showing and selling their art.
Friday’s featured musical group is The Band of Oz. They will perform on the Ahoskie Amphitheater stage from 7-11 p.m.
Saturday’s musical line-up at the Amphitheater includes local DJ Jay Jenkins, and Steve Owens & Summertime (7-11 p.m.) on the Amphitheater stage.
Three other bands will perform Saturday at the large picnic shelter on the festival grounds. Those bands – Tim Wall, Chick Weed and the Moon Shine Band – are part of the “Two-Wheel Thunder” event, new to the festival. Those motorcycles will initially ride in the morning parade before taking off on a jaunt in the county. They will return to the festival grounds at 12 noon to begin lining up for a Bike Show ($20 per bike to enter) and judging. A cash prize of $100 awaits the winners. Proceeds from this event benefit the Southern States Police Benevolent Association and the North Carolina Fallen Fire Fighters Association.
The Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex/Amphitheater is located off West Memorial Drive behind Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.