06/10/07 — Ole Timey Days draws crowd to Seven Springs

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Ole Timey Days draws crowd to Seven Springs

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on June 10, 2007 2:00 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- As the sun shone on the Neuse River Saturday afternoon, Union and Confederate troops positioned themselves for the ensuing fight. Once the cannons blared, the Battle of Whitehall began.

Fire from the eight cannons surrounding the river kept children's ears covered and residents looking to see where the battle would progress next.

The original battle took place in December 1862.

But the re-enactment was just one of the many trips back in time at the annual Ole Timey Days celebration in Seven Springs.

From the morning hours until after the sun set, residents enjoyed the food, music and vendors that come with the town's annual gathering.

This year, the festival included a new event that organizers hope will keep people coming back in the future -- a pig cooking contest. Pigs were cooked all through the morning, and the barbecue was sold on plates to raise money for the Seven Springs Historical Commission and for future Ole Timey Days festivals.

With the smell of barbecue in the air, hundreds of residents walked the streets of downtown Seven Springs looking at antique cars, classic tractors and even old engines, including a Dewey Brothers steam engine.

Other vendors included those selling sandals, books, kettle corn and slushies. Even Wayne County Animal Shelter Director Justin Scally came out with a few of his furry friends to adopt the animals into good homes.

Some of the other events during the day included a beauty pageant and an appearance by Miss Teen North Carolina Chelsea Guild.

As they moved from one stand to the other, visitors also enjoyed the country sounds of Rise Again, a gospel group from Kinston.

With all of the happenings along the streets of Seven Springs, resident Diane Thomas said the festival surprises her every year.

"It keeps getting better. I think one of the improvements this year are the re-enactors' tents showing how people lived in them during the Civil War," said Mrs. Thomas, who has been going to Ole Timey Days since it began.

And long after the battle concluded, the sounds of war blared again when the festival ended with a cannon fire shortly after sunset.

But more than the cannons or the food or the sights, Mrs. Thomas said it is the camaraderie that keeps her coming back to the annual event.

"I think the best part of this is seeing people come together all day," she said.