03/28/04 — Festival flowers in Fremont

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Festival flowers in Fremont

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 28, 2004 8:31 AM

FREMONT -- Look for firsts when you spot your first wild turkey after taking a scenic route to Fremont for the 18th annual Daffodil Festival.

Saturday was the first time the platform joust came to the Children's Alley.

It was the first time Mayor Devon Jones had ever seen such a beautiful day to hold the festival.

It was the first time the crowd count had topped 8,000. It was the largest crowd Police Chief Ben Reid had ever seen attend the festival. "We had no problems. Everything went smooth."

It was the first time in a few years that the popular Embers from Raleigh had returned for the festival.

It was the first time Terri Hinson of New Bern had ever sold her bracelets from a festival booth. She and her partners, Rhonda Preston, Kim Prescott and Tina Holton, had "sat up all night" for three months stringing beads in preparation for the event.

Debra and Caldwell Grant of Fremont were selling cookies, muffins and fudge to raise money to adopt a 4-year-old Russian child. "We have a picture of her," said Mrs. Grant. "We started looking in November. Her name is Marcia ... she has some health concerns, and we want to get her over here to get assessed."

Highway 222 was detoured from downtown as Center Street became the heart of the Daffodil Festival. A picket sign in the center of the intersection of Main and Sycamore streets directed people to the two stages, the trolley rides, Children's Alley, the museum and the rock climbing wall and art show. A breeze cooled the sun, which was already hot at 10 a.m. when the opening ceremony began. Hundreds of people were already downtown.

Little Miss Daffodil, Katie Knotts, and Miss Daffodil, Page Stewart, were introduced to the audience. Previous Miss Daffodils were also introduced, including the first, Bobbie Ann Proctor, who was crowned in 1987.

The Heritage Museum Exhibit showed several artifacts surrounding the history of Fremont. The community was just a crossroad following the Civil War, under "carpetbagger rule." The first business was a turpentine distillery and saw mill. Incorporated under the name of Nahunta around 1870, the town's name was changed to Fremont to honor Col. S.L. Fremont, an officer in the Wilmington Weldon Railroad.

Inside the Capital Cafe, Marie Benton of Goldsboro, and her mother, Bobbie Fulghum, rested from making the circuit. Mrs. Fulghum, 93, was going to head home soon. Her daughter and some friends were planning to drive down to the Duplin County Winery in Rose Hill for a dinner show.

"We've been to every one of these for 18 years," said Mrs. Benton, who grew up in Fremont. She's been away 50 years -- "all the way to Goldsboro. We enjoy it. It's something we always look forward to. It puts us on the map. It gives the town some life. You see old friends you haven't seen for ages."