Fall Fling 19 – don’t miss it!!

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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John Fritz does not own a business situated within Ahoskie’s downtown business district.

Amy Braswell does not own an Ahoskie-based business at all.

So, what would possess these two individuals to pour their heart and soul – not to mention countless hours of hard work – to nurture, develop, and promote an event that focuses its full attention squarely on the downtown area?

The answer is simple….they LOVE Ahoskie and all its endless opportunities to attract new businesses and residents.

It’s been right at one year since I and others jumped on John’s and Amy’s bandwagon to begin planning for Fall Fling 19. The results of all that advance planning, all that work, will be realized on Saturday, Oct. 19 when Fall Fling 19 opens a full day (and part of the night) of a wide range of activities for all ages.

For full disclosure, there was a Fall Fling 18. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, 2018. We all know what happened that particular weekend….Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, bringing devastating flooding and destruction in both North and South Carolina.

While we in the northeastern part of the state were spared the full fury of Florence, the rains from this hurricane canceled numerous events, to include last year’s Fall Fling. The event was re-scheduled for Oct. 20, but once again the weather was not fully cooperative as on-and-off rain showers put a damper on the events and hurt attendance.

If the weather forecast is close to accurate for this coming Saturday, Fall Fling 19 should be held under ideal conditions….sunny skies with a high temperature in the low 70’s and an overnight low around 50. In other words, perfect weather to get outdoors and enjoy all the activities scheduled that day in downtown Ahoskie.

Getting back to the main topic of this column, if I’ve learned one thing about John Fritz, it’s his attention to detail. John leaves nothing to chance….everything is meticulously planned; right down to where to place the picnic tables and even the port-a-potties.

And you have to consider John’s admiration for downtown Ahoskie and its historic and commercial value. He is a businessman (John and his wife, Dee, own and operate Jernigan House Bed & Breakfast located on Catherine Creek Road). Thusly, he understands that his business is tied to Ahoskie’s overall attraction to outsiders.

Ditto for Amy Braswell. As the Executive Vice President of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, she is the town’s chief cheerleader….always promoting and marketing Ahoskie and all its great assets. As proof of Amy’s work, she was among those at the forefront of a multi-year effort to open a Regional Visitors Center and Museum. That facility is now open and thriving in a historic and beautiful building located in the heart of the downtown business district.

Braswell has visions for much more for downtown, to include apartments and business opportunities.

Together they formed a dynamic duo with a shared vision to rekindle what was once Ahoskie Heritage Day. For those who are new to the area or those who have been here for a while, Heritage Day started in 2005 as a downtown festival. It eventually moved to the Ahoskie Creek Recreational complex where it lost its luster over the ensuing years. In my humble opinion (something I’ve said all along), having this event – renamed Fall Fling – back in the downtown area will restore it to all its former glory.

All the planning that has transpired over the past year will yield results, basically because John and Amy have left no stone unturned when it comes to putting together various events that will prove popular to a wide range of ages and individual tastes. There’s a 5K run/walk, an art show, car show, children’s activity area, giant yard sale, five food trucks, nine food vendors, and nearly 40 other vendors offering everything from jewelry, candles, lawn/auto/sports equipment, health and beauty items, quilts, Christmas decorations, floral arrangements, craft beer and wine, vinyl decals, CBD products, and even Elvis memorabilia.

And don’t forget your dancing shoes as five musical acts will perform at the festival. Three of those acts will rock the main stage, adjacent to No Man’s Land Park (at the railroad crossing) offering Country Rock, Motown, and Beach music from 5 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Thanks, John and Amy for all your hard work to promote Ahoskie though this family-oriented event. I’m looking forward to a fun-filled Saturday in Ahoskie and encourage everyone reading these words to join in.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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