06/12/05 — Old-fashioned fun reigns at festival

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Old-fashioned fun reigns at festival

By Turner Walston
Published in News on June 12, 2005 2:02 AM

As it did more than 140 years ago, the sound of cannon fire echoed across the Neuse River Saturday. This time, however, it was a celebration. The town of Seven Springs held its fifth annual Ole Timey Days festival. More than 60 re-enactors brought the 1862 Battle of Whitehall to life.

Union and Confederate soldiers took up arms on both sides of the river.

The original battle resulted in the burning of the Whitehall Bridge, and about 150 combined casualties. Saturday's re-enactment ended with three cheers "for the great state of North Carolina."

Re-enactors set up camp Friday night behind the Seven Springs River House.

On Saturday, Main Street was blocked off from Whitehall bridge to N.C. 55 for food and craft vendors. On the south end of the street, Country Express played country, rock and gospel music. In front of the River House, the Waterbound Dulcimers entertained in the shade.

Karen Mozingo, one of the event's organizers, was pleased with the weekend's festivities. "I think we had a good event," she said. "We do a little bit better every year."

Mrs. Mozingo said Ole Timey Days allows participants to step back to a more innocent time. "We enjoy it," she said. "I think it brings us back to our childhood."

In addition to the men in military garb, women and children both wore period costumes. A game of stickball was played in the River House's backyard.

Sixteen-year-old Will Jarman of Kinston participated in Saturday's re-enactment as a member of the 27th North Carolina Company D.

"I've always loved history," Jarman said. He said he had a family member who fought for the Confederacy.

A teacher inspired Jarman to join the re-enactors. "The more I talked about it, the more excited I got."

Jarman said stepping back into the Civil War era took his mind off the heat on Saturday. "You can block out everything," Jarman said. "It brings chills to you, standing in the same place, wearing the same thing the people did 140 years ago."

"It's an adrenaline rush," Jarman said. He compared the feeling to his experiences with the Wyse Fork Volunteer Fire Department.

Taking part in Saturday's event were members of nine re-enactment groups: 27th North Carolina Company D, 7th North Carolina, 51st North Carolina, 44th North Carolina, 11th North Carolina, 26th North Carolina, Andrews Battery, Ellis Battery and Plymouth Navy.