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Wet start can’t dampen SpringFest

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Sydney Phillips, left, and Kimberly Thigpen share a laugh together at The Bath Place booth Saturday at Downtown Tarboro's SpringFest Street Fair.

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BY JOHN H. WALKER
Staff Writer

Monday, April 8, 2019

TARBORO — There were a lot of frowns to be seen early Saturday morning in downtown Tarboro because Mother Nature was in the process of raining on the town's first-ever SpringFest Celebration.

"I was really worried," Main Street Coordinator Tina Parker said about 10 a.m. as she moved up and down Main Street, checking on vendors and seeing what was needed here or missing there. "But it's going to be okay if the rain holds off."

At about that time, people were starting to show up and stroll down Main Street ... walking from one vendor to the next, which were spread all along between St. James and St. John streets.

And while the skies never cleared, they did dry up as more and more people were seen strolling down the street and on to the Courthouse Square, where a play area for kids was set up with a slide and bounce house provided by Abrams and face painting by Pattie Davis and Strokes of Faith.

At about 10:45, Parker was directing traffic as the Poblanos Tacos & More Food Truck arrived from Raleigh.

About that same time, more and more participants from the Movin' On for Tarboro Community Outreach 5K were arriving downtown and heading to Tarboro Brewing Co. or strolling down the street.

By this time, foot traffic was spilling out onto the street from a jam-packed Farmer's Market and more and more people were filling the streets.

"We had 50-something vendors scheduled before the weather hit," a still-disappointed Parker said before a smile appeared when she was told there were 51 vendors on the street at that time.

"Really? That's great," she said. "It's going to be OK."

Local businessman Rusty Holderness thought it was.

"It's going to be a good turnout before it's over," he said as he stood in front of where the former Tarboro Savings Bank stood until Friday. "This is going to be good for us (Tarboro)."

Another downtown businessman, Bud Woolard, who owns the Classic Diner with his wife, Shirley, liked the way things were looking.

"People are comin' on out, aren't they?" he asked.

There were numerous health-related booths from local doctors' offices, the local hospital, home health and hospice companies and the Edgecombe County Health Department.

There was also members of the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office and the Tarboro Police Department talking about drug awareness and personal safety and there was a vendor from a local smoothie and healthy drink shop and a faux dairy cow, courtesy of the North East Carolina Prep FFA, where youngsters could "milk" the cow.

People were able to choose from a couple of food selections, fresh lemonade, soft drinks and more — although beer was only available inside Tarboro Brewing Co.

Dave Sharpe was set up, selling fishing-themed T-shirts and caps and there were others selling specialty wood signs for the beach house, patio or man's cave and there was jewelry, scents and more.

As much as anything, Parker and the Tarboro Development Corp. could hope for, there were people. As the day wore on, a constant stream of people perused the various booths and there was foot traffic in and out of the shops.

Ginger's had a rack of clothes on the sidewalk for browsers and Roberson & Dupree had both shoes and T-shirts displayed for the foot traffic while Brooke Phillips was greeted people as they approached the door at Off the Main.

And while everyone milled about, DJ Brad Perkins aka DJ Slammin kept a mixture of current, classics, pop and country going for everyone — even taking requests.

Before it was over, Parker had a smile on her face — as did the hundreds of people milling about downtown Tarboro.

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