Fabulous Fall Fling

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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AHOSKIE – What a difference a year makes.

In October of 2018, Fall Fling in Ahoskie experienced a low turnout due to on-and-off rain showers. The weather was more cooperative this past Saturday as abundant sunshine and seasonable temperatures led to a huge crowd in downtown Ahoskie, all enjoying a wide variety of activities over the course of the 14-hour event.

The event, which attracted nearly 2,000 people, was spearheaded primarily through the work of two individuals – John Fritz, who along with his wife, Dee, owns and operates the Jernigan House Bed and Breakfast in Ahoskie, and Amy Braswell, Executive Director of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce. Both are key players in an effort to revitalize downtown Ahoskie.

“When we started preparing for this event in January of this year, I had no idea the scale this event would take,” said Fritz. “When I was standing in front of the Town Hall and looked down Main Street I was taken back at the magnitude of what we created and the amount of work the entire team had contributed to make this event a success.

“As I spoke to everyone during the day, everyone expressed their appreciation for having this event in our downtown area,” he added. “I am very pleased with what we accomplished and feel that the Ahoskie community had a great time. We accomplished our goal. We are now looking forward to Fall Fling next year, so mark your calendars for October 17, 2020.”

“We are thrilled with the outcome of this festival’s return to Ahoskie’s Main Street,” Braswell stressed. “From participation to attendance to teamwork to sponsorship, our committee is both extremely grateful and could not possibly have asked for more from the community in its entirety. It was a beautiful day for our citizens and our town.

“At the end of the evening as I was thanking the departing crowd for coming, it struck me that all day I had seen big smiles on faces everywhere,” Braswell continued. “I spoke with every vendor during the day as well as all the food trucks and all were well pleased with their traffic and sales. Food trucks still had lines of customers even as the last band was finishing; 10 and 12 people in line at that time.”

Fritz and Braswell each had high praise for the work of the various committees who were charged with the task of putting together the various events. Committees supporting their special events included the Color Guard Presentation / National Anthem at the opening ceremony Saturday morning, the Rotary Pancake & Sausage breakfast, the Vidant Wellness Center 5K Run, the Haunted Basement, Quick Trigger Brewery, preparing the “beachfront” picnic area, the Art Show, “Vendors on Main” (53 total), food trucks, Car Show, entertainment (five bands performed), Children Activities area, and the Volunteer Command Center at Basnight Home Center.

“I cannot find the exact words to express my appreciation for all the hard work, from all our volunteers, they put into preparing for the day,” Fritz remarked.

Based on an email sent by Ahoskie Rotary Club President Jeff Douglas, the morning’s pancake and sausage breakfast, served at the Kiwanis Club building, that event saw more than 100 patrons.

“That was more than I estimated and that’s good,” Rev. Douglas wrote in his email. “Thanks to the team who put this event on and a special thanks to Walt Pierce who made it possible for the sausage to be parboiled ahead making our Saturday morning start time more reasonable.”

“The car show was fantastic,” said Braswell. “They really liked that we had the cars parked on the street rather than on grass. They are already looking forward to our event next year.

“The Art Show brought in a record number of artists. They also broke the sales record for the show with 125 pieces sold,” Braswell added. The Community Yard Sale netted over $1,000 for the Ahoskie Woman’s Club. And our Haunted Basement is popular already. Perfectly, as if on cue, the “zombies” made their way through Saturday night’s dance crowd on their way to the haunt reminding us all that Halloween is upon us.”

Braswell said based on the reactions of those she spoke to at the event, many were amazed they were in downtown Ahoskie.

“That’s what we wanted to accomplish, putting in focus the many opportunities we have in our downtown area,” Braswell noted. “I saw a lot of out-of-town guests on Saturday and we welcome them back anytime. Plus I heard a lot of great feedback and saw a lot of big smiles from the vendors, non-profits and small businesses who made money on Saturday.”

Fritz closed on his thoughts about the partnership built between Town of Ahoskie officials and the Fall Fling committees.

“A special thanks needs to go to the Town of Ahoskie staff and especially maintenance team in helping us with all the towns logistics, from power washing our sidewalks to being out on our streets Saturday at 4:45 a.m. until the event ended at around 10:30 p.m. We couldn’t have pulled off such a big event without the cooperation of the Town of Ahoskie,” he said.


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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