Stepping out in Seven Springs for Ole Timey Days
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 15, 2011 1:50 AM
Spot Rouse of Seven Springs rides in an ox-drawn old tobacco truck during Seven Springs' Ole Timey Days festival Saturday.
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Threatening skies and impending storms held off Saturday, at least long enough for the 11th annual Ole Timey Days festival to go off without a hitch.
Vance Davenport of LaGrange said his wife asked him why he was even loading up his truck early Saturday morning, since the weather forecast called for rain. But he packed up his wares for the outdoor yard sale anyway, and by mid-afternoon said he was glad he did.
"It was a good crowd," he said.
And he should know. This was his fourth year participating in the event, alongside other area sellers Gerald Garris from LaGrange and Charles Mozingo from Mount Olive.
"Me and this guy retired and this is all we do now," Garris said of himself and Mozingo, adding, "It's very nice. I meet a lot of new people. This is my town, my hometown. I went to Seven Springs School."
Ian Korth, 5, happily straddled a pony being guided by Jana Foote and James Wiggins from Stepping Stone Stables. The St. Mary School student said it was his first time riding a horse, technically.
"One time I rode a little one and he just wanted to eat grass," he said.
Brandi Massey of Seven Springs had a booth with her family, showing tractors, but had taken a break to go visit some of the other vendors.
She enjoys the annual event, she said.
"It just makes the community closer," she said. "It gives us time to reunite. We have seen people that we haven't seen in years."
For Lisa Mozingo, in a wheelchair since a car accident two years ago, the festival was a chance to show off her newfound talent -- flower arranging and an assortment of wreaths.
"I just started doing this after my accident," the 20-year-old said. "It kept me busy while I was in my back brace."
She said she started preparing items to sell two months ago, and word of mouth is also bringing in orders to do flowers for proms and weddings.
Don Gross brought his son, Russell, daughter, Heather, 10, and her classmate, Savanna Willis.
Ola Mae Adams, the town's matriarch, who was among those who first introduced the annual festival, had a good view from her seat on a front porch near the festivities.
A resident of Seven Springs since 1956, she ran a country store until 1990 and one of the town's favorite gathering places, Seven Springs Restaurant, until her health and that of her now-deceased husband began failing and she rented it out in 2009.
"I guess it's doing right well but I miss it," she said. "We served the barbecue (for the festival) out of the restaurant for a long time.
"This is the first year that I have really been out in two years because I was kind of sick, but to me it looks like it turned out really well. The music was good on the outside and the mini-rides, too."
Mayor Stephen Potter also called it a "very good day."
"As I have told everybody today, last night (Friday) at 10 o'clock I wouldn't have given you five cents for having a festival today with the storms and everything," he said.
The economy as well as the weather presented challenges among vendors and those attending, Potter said. And yet as the time drew near, things turned out quite well.
"We had as many or more vendors registered as we did last year, which was the biggest year to date," he said. "We had a few empty slots today because of the weather, but then the Storm Squad (cheerleaders) from the Carolina Hurricanes came in the Storm van, of course Eastern Carolina Vintage Farm Equipment Club came out, Triple R farms was back again this year, had carriage rides and they displayed a vintage Ford pickup."
And there was also music, a petting zoo and a kickoff event Friday night with Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam.
The main thing, Potter said, was to celebrate the town and bring people together.
"And to have something for people from out of town, to get in the habit of supporting the businesses," he said. "It's difficult at best for a small town like us to put something on. We just don't have the manpower, but this year we have had more volunteers than ever before."
There was also a fishing tournament and a horseshoe tournament.
Joyce Anne Barwick, accompanied by 5-year-old daughter, Kylie, favored the latter.
Ms. Barwick said she comes every year, for "the fellowship, seeing everybody -- you see people you haven't seen in a long time. You go to see pretty stuff, play horseshoes, that's my cup of tea, I like to play horseshoes."
For the rural community on the outskirts of Wayne County, though, everyone knows the real horseshoe champ is David Van Smith. He even hosts regular Sunday afternoon games at his farm, several said.
Gaynell and Morris Carmack organized this year's competition, but said it has been a popular event for probably 15 to 20 years, with both doubles and singles contests held.
"I just lost, I lost to him," Mrs. Carmack said, gesturing to Smith.
Jessie Willis said he had learned long ago that there are two choices -- either join Smith or get beat by him.
"I have come in first place with him as my partner," Willis said. "He's a tough man to beat."