‘Hot’ Heritage

Published 9:42 am Thursday, September 15, 2016


AHOSKIE – When does extreme heat not matter as much? When you are having fun!

That was the story of this year’s Ahoskie Heritage Day….heat and fun.

However the amazing news, from the lips of coordinators and even Chamber of Commerce director Amy Braswell, that this was the best Heritage Day ever! Why? More heritage and more community! Actually there was so much going on it was difficult to keep up with it all.

That fun began Saturday morning with the annual Heritage Day Parade. That is a free style event, allowing people to do whatever they would like to do in the parade. Modern heritage met historic heritage in a short, but sweet, parade. There were horses! Horses pulling all kinds of wagons, and horse riders of all ages that impressed.

The always popular Mudd Diggerz were on hand to show off their colorful rides. That group was founded by Andy Daughtrey and embraced by local business owners and friends to Ahoskie such as Micki Jenkins, Gene Lassiter and of course Daniel Hall from Stitch Count.

There were trucks and tractors of all ages and designation. Both Hertford County and Bertie County Marching Bands put on a great show. Lot’s of energy flowed from the young adults who were enjoying their moment.

There were cool cars of all sorts, classics, muscle, vintage and modified to suit all tastes. The Meherrin Indian Tribe marched in regalia to the delight of the attendees. There were even Princesses on a Mission!

The street shook and engines roared and Two Wheel Thunder made it’s way down the parade route. Zane Roberts of Robert’s Nursery in Ahoskie, and his motorcycle club, Iron Order Locked n Loaded Chapter out of Williamston, staged the two-wheel thunder event. They also handled the parade ride, bike show, silent auction and beer sales.

All the proceeds from their events will be given to the Semper Fi Fund (for wounded or killed soldiers in NC), the Ahoskie Library Fund and the Ahoskie Police Department’s Shop with a Cop for Christmas. This marks the third consecutive year that they have held these events and given the monies to charities. The ride itself started approximately 50 miles out through parts of Bertie and Hertford counties, and under police escort!

After the parade, next up on the schedule was the art show at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. There were hundreds of pieces submitted by an estimated 50 different artists. Some were local artists, and some were a new flavor offered this year. This year’s entrants did a wonderful job representing heritage in their work and were rewarded by crowds gathering at every display.

Over at the grounds of the festival (Ahoskie Creek Recreational Park and Amphitheater) the fields were packed with unique vendors, area supporters and community organizations proudly showing off their own heritage. Like the “Woman’s Division” of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce. Under their tent could be found really nice old photographs depicting various era’s and time marks in their history as well as loom weaving and old-fashioned tobacco tying. This went over so well with attendees that the “Woman’s Division” plans on their own display tent for next year!

There was plenty to see and do! Abram’s Amusements was on hand with their very popular rides and event support. The rides were cool and presented plenty of community photo ops. However the big slide, rock climbing and the bull ride brought humorous attention.

Many tried to ride the bull, only to discover it is harder than it looks on television. Even the town’s own Tony Hammond took a spill in the name of charity!

There were a lot of really cool and unique vendors featuring various hand crafted art and novelties. Fun interactive exhibits including a crowd favorite where individuals climbed inside a huge inflatable ball and rammed into each other.

There were Alpacas, farm animals, work horse team competitions and horse driven carriages and wagons whizzing folks back forth in the back fields.

The Meherrin and Chowanoke Nations proudly displayed their tribal regalia, sharing customs and dances with the crowd. Truly rich in heritage, and blessed by their culture these two wonderful tribes thrilled and educated many onlookers.

Speaking of musical heritage, the Ahoskie Community Choir belted out many old time favorites to the delight of those gathered.

There was a Disc Golf demonstration and Shootout at the Ahoskie Creek Course.

There were golf balls dropping from the sky. There was a Backyard BBQ Cook Off which also offered whole hog BBQ all day with proceeds benefitting the Ahoskie Public Library.

There was an entertaining demonstration of highly trained Ahoskie Police K-9’s and their handlers Michael Kellett and Clifton Whitby.

And if you felt like dancing, there were plenty of toe-tapping opportunities with The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, the Moonshine Band and the Band of Oz. Of course no event would be complete without a Master of Ceremonies, and Jay Jenkins did an excellent job as host, DJ and entertainer.