Folks dance to the music of The Holiday Band on Saturday during the Beach Music Festival at Edgecombe Community College.
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Telegram photo / Adam Jennings

Folks dance to the music of The Holiday Band on Saturday during the Beach Music Festival at Edgecombe Community College.

Residents enjoy annual beach festival

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

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TARBORO ‑– Shaved ice or a cold beer were the preferred accompaniments to the tunes bellowed Saturday at the sixth annual Beach Music Festival and Food Truck Rodeo.

“I love this kind of music because I like to dance and shag,” Scotland Neck attendee Lindsey White said. “This music prepares you for summer and makes you feel good.”

It is the second year for the Vicks from Rocky Mount to attend, and Susan Vick said she was eager to hear the third band of the day: the Carolina Breakers.

“I heard them for the first time last year and they are really good,” she said. “They are really awesome.”

The coastal band took the stage after Steve Owens and Summertime and The Holiday Band at the annual fundraiser put on the Edgecombe Community College Foundation to raise money for scholarships. College President Dr. Deborah Lamm said the foundation awards $75,000 annually to more than 100 students with approximately 90 percent of the student body receiving some type of financial aid.

“We are finding more and more students that need financial assistance,” Lamm said.

In addition to individual fundraising, the festival and a fall golf tournament make up the majority of the money raised for scholarships. Susan Vick and White said the worthwhile cause is among the reasons they add the festival to their calendar.

“Everyone deserves a chance to learn and get their education to do what they love to do,” White said. “To see the community grow and thrive, you’ve got to show your support for events and programs like this.”

Hundreds of people sat in lawn chairs to watch the band while others took to the black-and-white checkerboard dance floor to enjoy the live music. Six couples from throughout the region also competed for a chance to take home a trophy and bragging rights in the amateur shagging contest, which drew applause from all in attendance.

“I think this hits home with people because it is a chance to enjoy good music and dance for a good cause in Eastern North Carolina,” Foundation Executive Director Karen Andrus said. “It is a chance to have a great summer fun at a great location because everyone loves this campus.”

With temperatures in the 90s, many wore their best hats and sunscreen to stay cool while others opted to position their lawn chairs under the shade of a patch of trees. Several food vendors were nearby as well to provide healthy wraps, smokey barbecue or Mediterranean dishes with a ice cream treat for dessert.

“It is a mighty hot day,” Lamm said. “But we are excited about the weather because it is sunny and you never know when you schedule these things a year in advance what kind of weather you are going to get.”

Some attendees arrived early and stayed until the last song was sung while others came for a stretch then took part in other Saturday activities.

Altogether, though, Lamm said she was thrilled with the support from the community.

“What is important to us is that people are enjoying the music, the fellowship, and they seem to be doing that, so we’re pleased,” she said. “It has been a great day and a successful event.”

To learn more about how to support Edgecombe Community College scholarships, go to http://edgecombe.edu/ecc-foundation.