07/28/05 — Faison's Market Day Festival celebrates town's history

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Faison's Market Day Festival celebrates town's history

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 28, 2005 1:47 PM

FAISON -- Organizers say vendors are signing up by the dozens for the upcoming Market Day Festival.

Those who want to sign up for a booth at the festival can call Lisa Patterson, chairman of the Faison Improvement Group's Market Day Committee, at 919-921-0029. Vendors have until Sept. 1 to apply for a booth.

The festival this year will be Oct. 22 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Faison. It is held each year to celebrate Faison's heritage and includes a produce market.

Organizers bill the festival as a day full of history, a museum tour, music, children's rides, inflatables and other activities. In addition, there will be an antique corvette display and plenty of food and crafts. A 5K run and a Civil War encampment are also planned.

Ms. Patterson said more commercial vendors have signed up this year. She is still looking for plenty of non-profit groups to sign up for booths at the festival, she said.

More groups have signed up this year to provide entertainment, too, she said.

Scheduled to appear throughout the day on the Main Stage will be FatBack and The Cadillacs band; a storyteller -- The Chicken Man, a professional clown, singers, a disc jockey, shaggers and Hispanic dancers.

Major sponsors for the event include Coca Cola in Goldsboro and the Bay Valley Foods. Bay Valley, a subsidiary of TreeHouse Foods, bought out the pickle factory brought to Faison in 1929 by Charles F. Cates and Sons.

Faison is in the northeastern corner of Duplin County on both sides of the old U.S. 117 highway. The town has about 800 residents and offers a diverse cultural landscape, making it a great place to visit, Ms. Patterson said.

She said the homes in town include "some of the most superb Greek Revival and Italianate antebellum homes in the central coastal plain."

The first settlers migrated to Faison from England, France, Ireland and Scotland and settled on land purchased July 2, 1776. With the coming of the Wilmington-Weldon railroad, the little village was called Faison's Depot but when it was incorporated in 1882, the area was officially named the Town of Faison.

Faison has more than 90 National Historic Register homes and is the final resting place of about 50 Confederate soldiers. The Faison Confederate Memorial Monument on Main Street honors Company E, 20th regiment, of the North Carolina Division of the Confederate Army, known locally as the "Faison Grays."

Near town is the Buckner Hill Plantation, where the movie "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" was filmed.

The produce market was established shortly after the war, and Faison became the second-largest vegetable exchange in the United States and the third largest in the world.

Faison is also the home to William Thorton, one of North Carolina's astronauts. His home still stands in Faison.