Annual Happening a fun day for all

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Melissa Hodges, right, owner of Tastin' Jamaican Caribbean Style Salsa, hands Jeanne Suggs a sample on a corn chip during the Happening on the Common on Saturday at the Tarboro Town Common.


Staff Writer

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Inside one of the many numbered plots painted in white on the lawn of the Tarboro Town Commons was a pop-up tent with unique items on display.

Anita Hunt, a Jamesville resident who runs Maw’s Country Creations with her daughter, Kathy Travis, was busy packing up custom quilts, blankets and other items after a long afternoon in the sun. Hunt had set up a stand at the Happening on the Common event on Saturday and was placing each item back into a plastic bag for safekeeping.

After all, each item was made by either Hunt or Travis, and each takes time and a bit of imagination.

“I’ve been knitting ever since I was a little girl,” said Hunt, as she folded an item that depicted characters climbing a ladder. “It’s been a passion of mine.”

This was Hunt’s first time setting up a stand at the annual Tarboro event, though she is a veteran at selling her creations. Hunt is a regular at fairs across North Carolina and said that she can be found every other Saturday in Williamston at various fairs.

“I set up in Martin County almost every Saturday,” Hunt said. “I saw this event and thought I’d set up and check it out. I didn’t sell a piece today, but my daughter sold a few.”

One man munched on a corn dog as he browsed the quilted options, and he was just one of many to stroll throughout grounds to look at what each tent had to offer. The large, open field was dotted with small shops and tents, each complete with their own flair.

One tent had all types of popcorn for sale. Another sold custom wood workings with patriotic colors. Several people walked around with brooms purchased from a stand that sold the sweepers to benefit an organization that helps the blind. Another stand sold jewelry, and even the Lil’ Vikings football team had a registration booth.

The Happening on the Common event was attended by many, and each found something to do. People sat in lawn chairs listening to a variety of live music, others sampled food and cold treats from food trucks and hot grills. The younger visitors took advantage of carnival rides.

A dual trampoline setup was popular. Spinning rides in the ‘Tubs of Fun’ caused fits of laughter and, later, wobbly legs.

One lady, Arlene Timmons of Pinetops, sat to the left of the stage drinking a lemonade. She was working through her second drink when she found a patch of shade to relax while the next band was setting up.

Timmons said that while she doesn’t usually spend her weekends seeking out fairs or carnivals, she already had spent about four hours at the Common and was enjoying herself.

“It was just a short drive and I was looking for some way to entertain my sister’s kids,” Timmons said. “They’re having a blast, and I’m relaxing. Normally these things are too busy, but how they have this mapped out works great for everybody it seems.”

The food was abundant and the smells drew noses and hunger alike closer to the source. Along St. Patrick St., food trucks lined up with various offerings. Cheese steaks, funnel cakes, chicken, corn dogs and lemonade were available.

One large grill drew a long line, as several people worked the sizzling food. The line soon turned into another, happier, line of people carrying stacked plates piled high with barbecue back to a comfortable place to eat.

“I’ve been coming here every year for the food,” said Jared Hoover, a Tarboro resident. “When you can walk over from your house and eat like this, you better believe I’m going take advantage.”