Beast Fest draws thousands to Bladenboro

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

BLADENBORO — The summer-like weather, combined with Bladenboro’s ability to entertain, made for a huge crowd at the 2017 Beast Fest Saturday.

In its 11th year, the organizers think this year’s crowd may have been the biggest ever.

“It looked like we had about twice as many people (Friday) night as we’ve ever had,” Beast Fest Committee chair Joyce Walters said Saturday morning.

While Walters said the committee doesn’t have any way of gauging numbers, she anticipated the crowd on Saturday was a record-breaking one as well.

Throughout the crisp, cool evening Friday, Bladen County’s own Blackwater Rhythm & Blues kept folks entertained while kids and adults like played on a super slide, swings, an airplane ride, and a train.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get him off that train,” said Melinda Strickland, of Whiteville.

Saturday’s unseasonably warm temperatures — topping 80 degrees — brought droves of people out. Clad in everything from hoodies and boots to shorts and and flip flops, folks enjoyed a variety of singers, dancers, and other entertainers, all culminating in a concert Saturday night. The Fantastic Shakers put on a show Saturday evening, while guests danced in the street. Bladenboro’s Robert Hester emceed events on stage.

During breaks in the entertainment, visitors enjoyed goodies like sno cones, funnel cakes, sausage dogs, collard sandwiches, chili cheese fries, cotton candy, BBQ, and fried Oreos. The food was the reason at least one festival-goer attended the event.

“My son likes the rides, but I come out for the food,” said Mark Massey, as he munched on a funnel cake.

The more than 75 vendors stayed busy throughout the day Saturday as the crowd continue to swell. Folks like handmade wreath, wooden furniture, bag, purse and apparel vendors joined businesses and elected officials giving out material to guests.

Saturday afternoon, awards were given out in 14 “Best of” categories for the car show that started early Saturday morning. Cars were from as far away as Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia.

New Light Church held its annual Trunk or Treat production, a candidate gave away two bicycles, and a costume contest — which awarded prizes in four age categories — entertained festival-goers, while the horse-drawn wagon ride carried folks around the whole operation.

“We really couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Walters commented.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal