By Sam Atkins
Published in News on April 4, 2004 9:24 AM
Destinee Daughtry of Pikeville anxiously awaited a ride called "The Tempest" to begin spinning her around at a rapid pace.
She waved at her mother, Crystal, and the anticipation grew stronger. The ride began and her face lit up with a big smile.
It was her second time on the ride and she made sure to hold on tightly until it was over. The ride came to a stop and she ran to her mother giving her a big hug.
Destinee, 8, came to the 13th-annual De-Rail-A-Bration Festival in downtown Goldsboro soon after it began at 10 a.m. Saturday. She and her friends enjoyed the food, rides, petting zoo and vendors at the event.
"They enjoy being with people their own age," said Crystal.
Spots of sunlight shone through the cloudy sky over the annual festival on South Center Street. It is sponsored annually by the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation and commemorates the night in 1926 when the railroad tracks were removed from Center Street.
Sherry Archibald, promotions coordinator of the corporation, estimated that around 8,000 people came out to enjoy all of the activities. This was about the same number that came out last year, she said.
The day began at 8:30 a.m. with the Sunrisde Kiwanis Club's annual Greater Goldsboro Road Run, which was followed by the children's fun run at 9:30 a.m.
The activities gave some children a chance to spend time with their grandparents, who seemed to enjoy everything as much as the children.
Lee Simmons, 69, of Goldsboro, danced to some music with his 7-year-old granddaughter, Alexandra Cox. She is a second-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary and had been to two previous De-Rail-A-Bration festivals.
Her favorite ride of the day was the swings, which she rode three times. She also went down the slide and had her face painted.
Simmons said he enjoyed seeing some of the local talent on stage.
"I think it does a lot for the kids," he said. "It is a time to get together and enjoy yourself."
A large crowd also gathered around the dunking booth at 1 p.m. to see who could throw a baseball accurate enough to dunk Goldsboro Councilman Chuck Allen and then former County Commissioner Ken Gerrard into the water.
Abenell Pullen, 11, dunked Gerrard on her first throw.
"It felt good," she said.
She also had fun hitting her dad, Daniel, in the face with a pie during a game of musical chairs.
Many children made their way to the petting zoo and had the chance to feed some interesting animals, including a camel.
Drew Singleton III, 1, held on tightly to his grandmother, Carolyn, as he reached out to touch the camel. After a few seconds of petting the animal, he quickly jumped back and decided he would rather just walk around for a little while.
Ms. Singleton said the festival is a good, healthy and wholesome place for children to have fun and be active.
"I think this is wonderful," she said.
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