Annual Buggy Festival Celebrates Town's History
Started in 1988, the Carthage Buggy Festival is a -celebration of the rich history of Carthage.
The Buggy Festival is held each year to commemorate the famous Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory that, from the mid-1800s to the 1920s, produced the carriages that were essential to life in rural North Carolina.
With an annual attendance of 15,000, the Buggy Festival has grown into one of the biggest and best-known festivals in the region. Over the years, the event has been selected as one of Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 events for the month of May.
The 23rd annual Carthage Buggy Festival is scheduled for Friday evening, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, 2011. It promises to be the biggest and best yet, organizers say.
Getting a Festival Started
The Buggy Festival grew out of a suggestion that Carthage, the county seat of Moore County, needed to stage an event that would draw attention to its -history. Since the Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory had been one of the largest buggy manufacturers in the nation for more than half a century, the focus on buggies seemed natural.
But you couldn't have a buggy festival without a buggy, so where to find them became a burning -question.
A search began and soon samples of those early modes of transportation were found and purchased. Each festival since has seen more Tyson and Jones buggies on hand for festival attendees to view, as well as to ride.
There is only one building remaining of the famed -factory that flourished in Carthage until after World War I. A fire destroyed one building in 1905, and in 1976, the largest fire in the town's history claimed a small section of the remaining building.
The Tyson and Jones Factory may have gone up in smoke, but from the ashes, its memory has been -preserved. Each year, the Carthage Buggy Festival is an event people, not only from Moore County, but -surrounding counties and even surrounding states, look forward to with great anticipation.
A Fun Family Festival
The festivities of the Carthage Buggy Festival begin each year on the Friday before Mother's Day at 6 p.m. with an Antique Fire Truck Display at Nancy Kiser Park. On Saturday, more than 125 food and craft vendors -surround the historic courthouse from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A stage is set up on the steps of the courthouse, and is host to a variety of -entertainment, including cloggers and bands playing gospel, country and Southern rock music.
In 2011, event organizers will be searching for the "Ninth Carthage Buggy Festival Idol." The competition will be held on Saturday during the Buggy Festival. The winners will receive $100.
Children's rides and games are prominent, plentiful and always provided free of charge.
An impressive display of buggies and historic tractors can be found, and one of the largest classic car shows in the area also takes place. Buggy rides are offered along residential streets adjacent to the Buggy Festival.
Ms. Buggy Festival is crowned on Saturday during the festivities. Ms. Buggy Festival is nominated by the -children at Carthage Elementary School. Children in kindergarten through fifth grade write letters about why their mom, grandmother, aunt, etc. should be Ms. Buggy Festival. There has even been a Mr. Buggy Festival.
A winner and five runners-up are chosen and the -students read their nominating letters at the festival.
Mr. and Mrs. Pinelake Nursing Home and Mr. and Mrs. Tara Plantation retirement home are also crowned.
Most impressive of all, the Carthage Buggy Festival is planned, publicized and staffed each year by a group of more than 50 dedicated volunteers, including local leaders, business people and citizens.
The continued success of the annual festival is owed to this team of hard-working individuals, says Town Manager Carol Sparks, who has chaired the festival for more than 10 years.
Each year, the Buggy Festival Committee saves only enough "seed money" to get next year's -festival started. The balance of any money raised goes back into the community.
To truly appreciate what the Buggy Festival means to the community and to visitors, it has to be seen first hand. Only then can you see the -historic buggies, classic cars and exquisite arts, crafts and antiques; hear the sounds of bands playing; smell the aromas from the food vendors; and experience the joy and pride of an entire community celebrating its -heritage.
This is the essence of the Carthage Buggy Festival.
For information about the Carthage Buggy Festival and vendor application information, visit www.thebuggy -festival.com, em-ail email@example.com or call (910) 947-2331.
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