BLADENBORO — The vampire beast that allegedly haunted Bladenboro and terrified residents is back. Well, at least temporarily. On Saturday, the seventh annual Bladenboro BeastFest will kick off at 10 a.m. with the arrival of the Harmony Hall Militia in downtown Bladenboro.
“This year is the 60th anniversary for the Beast of Bladenboro. That (the legend of the beast) is what really started all of this. It’s what put Bladenboro on the map, basically,” said organizer Berry Lewis.
Organizers are hoping for a crowd of about 8,000 to 10,000 to attend this year’s event.
Aside from the much-anticipated arrival of “Bob the Beast,” the festival committee has many things planned to entertain the masses this year, said Lewis.
“We’re hoping the nice beast will show up again this year,” said Lewis.
He expects there will be 70 to 80 craft vendors at this year’s festival. Lewis said there will also be game trailers, bounce houses and carnival-type rides for children. There will also be horse and carriage rides.
In addition, a classic car show and performances by Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band and other live entertainment will take place during the day.
“Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band has a big following. I’ve had people calling from Kernersville and we have one food vendor coming from Maryland,” said Lewis.
There will be plenty of food on hand, including collard sandwiches and blooming onions, as well as other delectable items.
“It will be a fun family event with lots of exciting things to do,” said Lewis.
The legend of the vampire beast is now ingrained in local folklore.
“It happened back in 1953. We were having goats showing up with their blood sucked out of them and skulls crushed,” said Lewis.
He said folks from as far away as London were calling and about 900 to 1,000 hunters converged on Bladenboro in the hopes of being the one to kill the infamous beast.
“The town had to turn the hunters away because they were afraid someone would get hurt,” said Lewis.
As mysteriously as the killings began, they also mysteriously stopped.
“I know the beast was never captured,” said Lewis. “We hope the mean beast doesn’t come back!”
Many an explanation has been offered … including Chupacabra, vampires, werewolves, and even the more reasonable bobcat or panther. Folks still gather in the town to reminisce, scratch their heads and marvel at the legend that is “the Beast of Bladenboro.”
Lewis invites folks to come out and enjoy the festivities — but be wary, the beast will be lurking somewhere.