BLADENBORO — The folks in Bladenboro are positively beastly — well, at least for a weekend, anyway.
The last weekend in October marks Boost the ‘Boro’s annual Beast Fest, a Bladenboro event that draws approximately 10,000 people to the area. In its 11th year, the now two-day event, according to Boost the ‘Boro’s website, is “one of the fastest-growing festivals in southeastern North Carolina.”
Things kick off Friday night with a howling good time. Beginning at 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy Fun Rides, which can be accessed on an unlimited basis for a $15 wristband. The wristband is good only Friday night.
At 6 p.m., food vendors will be available for those who worked up an appetite on the rides. Collard sandwiches — cooked collards between two cornbread flapjacks — will be back again this year, as will a variety of funnel cake, sausage dog, sno-cone, popcorn, and hamburger vendors.
“All your favorites will be back this year and the variety is once again great, so bring your appetite,” reads Boost the ‘Boro’s website.
Taking the stage Friday night at 7 p.m. will be Bladen County’s own Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band. Known for their high-energy live performances, the nine-member group plays a mix of classic beach, soul, funk, and classic R&B that has earned them Carolinas Beach Music Association’s Song Writer of the Year in 2015, the Rising Star Award in 2016, and Group of the Year in 2016.
Saturday morning, things get started early with registration for the Beast of Bladenboro Car Show. Hosted by Southeastern Cruisers, the show saw 75 entries last year, and promises to be a large event again this year. Registration is from 8 a.m. until noon and costs $25. Awards will be given out at 2 p.m. in 14 “Best of” categories.
The festivity’s official start is at 10 a.m. Saturday with the grant opening ceremony. B.O.B. (Beast of Bladenboro) will be prowling around, and the day’s activities will be emceed by Robert Hester.
In addition to a variety of local talent performing Saturday, the stage will host a favorite for local kids — the Beast of Bladenboro Halloween Costume Contest. Cash prizes will be awarded for Best Original Costume in all categories, which include infant to 2 years old, 3 to 5 years old, 6 to 9 years old, and 10 to 12 years old.
“Use your imagination,” the website encourages.
There is no charge to enter, but registration is required and closes at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
From 5 to 7 p.m., New Light Church will host its Trunk or Treat, a production annually attended by approximately 2,000 children.
“This is a great alternative to the typical ‘door-to-door’ Trick or Treat on a school night,” reads Boost the ‘Boro’s site. “Children will receive a great selection of ‘Treats’ and enjoy a multi-stop performance, each with a positive message. If you have little ones, bring them. You’ll be glad you did.”
Organizers are expecting at least 75 arts and crafts vendors, which guests can peruse after, or even while, taking a horse and wagon ride up and down Railroad Street.
Festivities will close out Saturday night with a street dance and concert from 7 to 10 p.m featuring The Fantastic Shakers. Known as the “South’s finest show band” according to a North Carolina Hall of fame biography, the group has won multiple Group of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year awards from the Beach Music Awards Association. Established in 1978, the group was inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame in 2009 and has played before national leaders and groups upwards of 70,000 people.
A low-rise section of bleachers is available for festival-goers to relax and enjoy the live entertainment that goes on throughout the day.
“We also encourage you to bring your own fold-ups, as the bleachers will usually fill-up quickly,” reads the website.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.