Given the recent heat, a fleeting spring has certainly given way to summer. While the heat winds up, the spring festival season winds down.
The season kicked off with the first annual Scotland County Farm Tour. The day provided stops for plants, produce, honey and wine, while also showcasing efforts taking place at St. Andrews and Growing Change. When initially developed, members of NC State and the Cooperative Extension anticipated a couple of dozen participants. Fifty people and a caravan led by two mini-tour buses later, the event was a huge success and a fall follow-up is already being planned.
A week later, downtown was hopping with the Chamber of Commerce holding the year’s first Laurinburg After Five concert on Friday night. On Saturday the combined Scotland Memorial Foundation FUNd Run and Scotland Arts Council’s Spring Fest and Liar’s Competition joined forces to shut down Main Street and host the community.
The success of the concert has the Chamber exploring how to further incorporate the series downtown, and with the FUNdRun hosting the largest number of runners ever and SpringFest filling the streets, next year is already in planning.
After taking a weekend off to allow St. Andrews graduation to fill our community, the Spring season continued last weekend with both Habitat’s Bike to Build and LaurelFest. Billy Norris, one of the organizers of LaurelFest commented the annual event, “was awesome. A good turnout, lots of kids, and great fellowship.” Isn’t that ultimately the purpose of all of the Spring events that contribute to the quality of life in our community?
The series of Spring festivals conclude this weekend with the Chalk Banks Challenge and Water Festival. The fun will be held this Saturday, May 19 from 9ba.m. – 2 p.m. at the Chalk Banks Access Area – Lumber River State Park in Wagram, NC. Contestants may compete in raft, recreational canoe or kayak races, a 5K trail run, youth run, a men’s high heel sprint sponsored by Jerry’s Deli, and much more. This year, cash prizes will be awarded to the winners in many events including $150 for first place in the group raft race divisions.
A Scotland County tradition, the group (two or more people) raft races will be divided into two divisions: group youth and group adult (there is also a singles division). All rafts must be homemade and may not be motorized in any way, nor use any parts of a boat, kayak, canoe, etc.. The day provides an opportunity to visit this beautiful state park and enjoy the fun. In addition to the events the festival will also include kid’s games, inflatables, train rides, canoe rides, vendors and more.
The homemade raft race is the highlight of the day. This year we anticipate a slew of raft entries from local fire departments to join the flotilla. As always, the key question isn’t who will win, but who will even make it out of the starting gate without sinking. Which leads to the second question, which entrant will win the coveted award: the raft that is “most embarrassing to your 8th grade science teacher.” For more information on the day’s events you can contact the TDA office at 910-277-3149
Next week brings us Memorial Day and the (unofficial) start of summer. The weekend also brings us the 2nd installment of the Chamber’s Laurinburg After Five Concert Series. Held Friday, May 25 at the Morgan Complex, the concert will feature Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band.
It seems just yesterday was Easter, yet next week is indeed Memorial Day. And almost every week in between highlighted something to do in Laurinburg/Scotland County (and I haven’t even mentioned the ball seasons taking off at Parks and Recreation and Optimist Park). It is easy to get caught up in the, “there’s nothing ever going on here” syndrome, and certainly not everything is for everyone. Yet these events do provide something for everyone.
In closing, there is something all of the events I have mentioned in this article have in common – they wouldn’t take place without the countless, tireless hours of the hundreds of volunteers who give of themselves to make these events, and the community a better place. To each and every one who stepped up and made this spring special, I salute you and encourage you to get some rest; you deserve it. But don’t rest long because now we can take the success of these events to energize others to get involved. There are some great things going on in this community and you won’t want to miss them.
Cory Hughes, executive director of the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority, wrote this week’s Focus on Scotland, an effort by community leaders on making Laurinburg/Scotland County a better place to work, live, and play.