Carthage Preparing for Buggy Festival
Carthage officials plan to mark two birthdays this week by celebrating the 25th anniversary of the town's Buggy Festival and the 100th anniversary of Carthage's volunteer fire department.
Both will be feted at Moore Coffee in downtown Carthage, across from First Baptist Church on McNeil Street.
"We're going to have a birthday cake," said Town Manager Carol Sparks. "It's going to say 'Happy 25th Annual Buggy Festival' and also say '100th Anniversary Carthage Fire Department.' Volunteers are going to pay for the cake."
Guest baristas will prepare and serve coffee from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., sell raffle tickets for two golf foursomes - one at National and one at Little River - along with a raffle for a murder mystery dinner for eight at the Old Buggy Inn - the former mansion home of William Jones of Tyson & Jones Buggy Company.
The celebration also is a fundraiser for the festival, which will be held the second weekend in May. Streets in the county seat that radiate from the historic county courthouse in the center of the old town will fill with visitors and vendors.
Friday's celebration will serve as a fundraiser for the festival. Its two biggest sponsors pulled out, citing the distressed economy. Festival organizers hope to make some money from tips for the guest baristas.
"Hopefully we'll have some people come in," Sparks said. "And hopefully we'll make some money."
Plans for the festival are in full swing. Only a few vendor slots remain to be filled on Courthouse Square.
"Monroe Street is pretty full, and we are working on McNeil," said Town Clerk Karen O'Hara. "They are still coming in. We are getting a lot of calls, a lot of applications - moving right along."
There are new rides, always free, for children this year, with rides for youngsters as well as older kids.
"We've got some new ones this year - swapped some out," Sparks said. "We have some we never had before, and there are some good ones. We've got the same amount for small children as we do for older children and young adults. We did get a sponsor for the Purina Dogs. They are going to do four shows that day, so that's good."
The Fire Department is getting an early start out at the county fairgrounds the Friday before with a show of antique trucks, fire engines and ambulances. "Engine Wars" will pit entrants in challenges with trophies for oldest and newest, farthest and best in show. Fairgrounds open for the fest at 4 p.m., which runs until 10 that night.
"We are doing a small fundraiser," said Fire Chief Brian Tyner. "We are raffling off tickets for a shotgun right now. They are selling pretty good."
The shotgun is a 12 Benelli Supernova.
"It is only a single barrel, but it's very nice," the chief said. "Very nice."
The fire department usually hawks hot dogs and burgers at Sherwood Lapping Park on the eve of Buggy Festival. This year they're moving everything out to the fairgrounds, where there is room for a much bigger show.
The end of this week is the deadline for sponsors, and Sparks will put all the sponsor names in the festival program.
"Just say I'd like two big sponsors," she said with a smile.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or jfchappell @gmail.com.
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