03/17/04 — Feast in East to boost local economy

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Feast in East to boost local economy

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on March 17, 2004 2:06 PM

The smell of eastern North Carolina barbecue, the rich history of Wayne County, and the soaring jets from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will be at the forefront of a week-long festival in October.

The first "Feast in the East" is scheduled for the week of Oct. 25. Its goal is to attract visitors to the area.

Patty Graham, membership and marketing director for the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, hopes that promoting barbecue will attract crowds, and when the people come, they will see everything else the county has to offer.

The event will also help the economy by encouraging out-of-town visitors to spend their money, she added.

Representatives from the Goldsboro Travel and Tourism office, Chamber of Commerce, Cooperative Extension, Seymour Johnson, the Arts Council and the Wayne County Fairgrounds along with other city and county officials are helping to organize the festival. They plan to make it an annual event.

The Goldsboro tourism council did a study in 1999, and the results indicated that people know this area for its history, barbecue and the base, said Marlise Taylor, director of tourism.

The highlight of the festival will be at the fairgrounds from Oct. 29-31. The event will center around an eastern-style pork barbecue cook-off held by the Arts Council on Oct. 30. Other activities will include a barbecue turkey and chicken cook-off, entertainment, music, vendors, children's activities, arts and crafts, a golf tournament and more.

Ms. Taylor said they chose the fairgrounds to be the host of the event because it has ample security, parking and space.

All Wayne County communities are encouraged to develop their own barbecue-related activities during the celebration, she said.

There will be sponsorships available for festival activities and vendor opportunities. Residents and organizations, including nonprofit groups, who are interested in participating are encouraged to join the planning committee.

The committee needs help with organizing entertainment, vendors, marketing, sponsorships and events. There are also plans to have a logo design contest.

The next planning meeting is scheduled for March 26 at noon in the chamber's board room at 308 N. William St. The committee typically meets twice a month.

For more information on how to become involved, contact Ms. Taylor at 734-2245 or Ms. Graham at 734-2241.