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Blooming Festival offers fun for all

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Leah Joyner, 14, on left in the center gondola, talks with Austin Ramsey, 16, as they ride the Expo Wheel on Friday at the 22nd annual Nashville Blooming Festival.

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By PATRICK MASON
Staff Writer

Monday, May 14, 2018

A large, white banner hung over the road leading to downtown Nashville, welcoming residents and visitors alike to the Blooming Festival.

Nashville’s popular festival is in its 22nd year, and those who decided to spend the day outdoors had a wide variety of options to choose from. For the adventurous types, carnival rides and games beckoned. Just up the street is where a city block of shops, stands and food trucks could be found.

Face painting, fresh-squeezed lemonade, unique trinkets and T-shirts were all within steps of each other. The temperature hovered close to 90 degrees, and with no clouds above to shield festival-goers from the baking sun, people didn’t stay out too long.

“We’re really pleased with the entertainment,” said Cindy Puckett, one of the festival’s organizers. “But the crowd is down this year, and it’s probably due to the heat. The music has been awesome, though.”

Sure enough, a large crowd gathered near the stage to hear Kasey Tyndall perform. A budding county music artist, Tyndall released her debut album late last year. A number of people danced to the up-beat music near the stage, while others took photos and videos.

Most, however, took shelter from the hot sun and sat in chairs under awnings that sprouted from the buildings lining the street. Just about every portion of shade was occupied. It was an odd sight, as the sides of the venue were crowded, while center stage was vacant.

One woman did brave the heat, and bobbed her head during a song near the front of the stage. Stephanie Brass, an Edgecombe County resident, said she would be silly not to enjoy herself.

“We’ve been asking for nice weather for months now,” Brass said. “A little heat won’t ruin my day. Sometimes it rains at this thing, so when you have good music and nice weather, you dance and enjoy it.”

Despite a lack of crowd surrounding the stage, Tyndall’s performance was popular, as the singer has ties to the area with family living in Nashville.

Tyndall was born in Rocky Mount, then moved to Greenville where she graduated from D.H. Conley High School. She got her start when she won a radio contest in 2014 as a student at East Carolina University that allowed her to sing alongside country music star Keith Urban when his tour came through Raleigh.

One of Tyndall’s fans, Rod Jackson, who happened to be in town to visit his mother who lives in Raleigh, made sure to make it to Nashville to catch the show. Jackson, who lives in the Midwest, saw Tyndall sing in Indiana last year.

The artist opened for Parmalee, a band Tyndall spent time with on tour.

“I’m actually a big fan of country music and at the time I didn’t quite know who she was but she sure sounded all right,” Jackson said. “Talk about the fortunate unfolding of events when I’m headed in to spend the weekend in North Carolina, and you guys have nice weather and live music. She was great.”

The day continued with more fun, including a performance from East Coast Rhythm & Blues. The festival wrapped up after opening on Wednesday with amusement rides, and fully kicking off activities on Friday.

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