John Blue Festival to bring folksy food, entertainment
by Mary Katherine Murphy Staff Writer
LAURINBURG — For the second weekend in a row, thousands are expected to flood through the gates of the John Blue House grounds, but this time for a celebration of old-timey Americana.
The 30th Annual John Blue Cotton Festival will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and organizers expect in excess of 6,000 attendees over a two-day glimpse into the rural lifestyle of the late 19th century.
Most of the grounds’ antique farming implements — including, with the help of a team of mules, the cotton gin — will be operational throughout the weekend. There will also be an exhibition on the evolution of the farm tractor.
According to festival board member Jim Walker, the festival’s continued closeness to its roots have helped keep it going for three decades.
“It’s the whole country look, the fact that we keep the old times alive and we don’t have any modern carnivals and stuff like that,” Walker said. “We try to keep it old-fashioned and yesteryear.”
The featured musical act, the Johnny Barker Beach Music Project, will perform twice on Saturday afternoon, and a bluegrass band will perform on foot throughout the festival grounds. Activities such as haystack diving and a kiddie tractor pull will be available to keep children entertained, as well as pony rides and a petting zoo.
There will also be some 70 craft and food vendors on site.
Admission is $5 for adults and children over six. All activities, with the exception of train rides and John Blue House tours at $2 each, are free.
The John Blue festival will bring a conclusion to Scotland County’s fall festival season, which according to Scotland County Tourism Development Authority Director Cory Hughes typically brings more than 12,000 people to the county between the Kuumba Festival, the Highland Games, and John Blue.
Hughes said that, with the addition of new events in September, more than 20,000 people from elsewhere have made Scotland County a destination this fall.
“What intrigues me is that we had a couple of big ball tournaments, we had the Colt Ford concert, we had the Tams, so that brought in 12,000 at the beginning of September,” said Hughes. “So it’s a big six weeks from a tourism standpoint.”
John Blue Cotton Festival Entertainment Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 12
10 a.m. - Festival Gates Open
10:30 a.m. - Opening Ceremonies
11-11:30 a.m. - Parade of Dogs from Scotland County Humane Society
1-2:15 p.m. - The Johnny Barker Project Beach Music
2:15-3 p.m. - Jimmy Blue - Variety/Old Time Rock & Roll
3-4 p.m. - The Johnny Barker Project Beach Music
4-4:45 p.m. - Rufus & Dufus
Sunday, Oct. 13
9:15 a.m. - Old Timey Church Service led by Allen’s Chapel AME Zion Church
10 a.m. - Festival Gates Open
12:30-1 p.m. - Glamour Athletics
1-1:30 p.m. - Elite Dance Studio
1:30-2 p.m. - Krazy Feet Cloggers
2-2:30 p.m. - Jimmy Blue Variety and Old Time Rock & Roll
2:30-3 p.m. - Crystal McInnis School of Dance
3-3:30 p.m. - Karen Gibson School of Dance
3:30-4 p.m. - Detonation School of Dance
4-4:30 p.m. - Rufus & Dufus
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