AMMON — Under crystal clear blue skies that barely got interrupted by passing puffs of white clouds, the 20th annual Ammon Blueberry Festival brought hundreds of folks to the tiny town along N.C. 242 on Saturday.
“I really think we had one of the best festivals,” said Nancy Smith, an organizer of the event. “The weather was perfect and we had a very nice crowd all day.”
The festival was kicked off with the annual blueberry pancake breakfast inside the Ammon Volunteer Fire Department’s truck bays, and seats remained full for most of the three-hour feeding. For some, the breakfast was one of the main reasons to venture into Ammon.
“We always look forward to starting the day with these pancakes,” said Larry Stewart of St. Pauls, who was at the festival with his family. “You just can’t beat it — for a modest donation, the pancakes and sausage are really good.”
After the breakfast wrapped up, visitors were offered a variety of vendors — about 40 in all — that included several selling arts and crafts, jewelry, flea-market items, children’s games, food and more.
At 10 a.m., the crowd was drawn over to Old Fayetteville Road, where the 30-minute parade kept folks intently watching with the passing of entries like the Dunn Clowns, numerous fire trucks, a youth baton-twirling group, elected officials, beauty queens, tractors and horses.
“I liked the clowns best,” said Braydon Miller, 4, of Carolina Beach, who was visiting his grandparents for the weekend. “They were funny.”
For car enthusiasts, the Southeastern Cruisers Car Club out of Bladenboro offered a lineup of classic cars and trucks for folks to look at closely. And under the pavilion, local musicians offered a non-stop variety of entertainment throughout the day.
The Ammon Blueberry Festival also featured a number of contests and gave out several awards. Among those were:
— Fire Apparatus Parade Awards: First place went to White Oak Volunteer Fire Department for its 1993 GMC pumper; second place went to White Lake Volunteer Fire Department for its 1987 Pierre engine; and third place went to Harrells Volunteer Fire Department for its 2008 Workstar brush truck. The Ammon Volunteer Fire Department excluded itself from the awards this year.
— Oldest Fire Apparatus: The award went to Tar Heel Volunteer Fire Department for its converted 1985 AMC Jeep.
— Southeastern Cruisers Car Club Awards: Best of Show went to Roger Teachey; Best GM went to Donnie Beck; Diamond in the Rough went to Jim Knotts; Best Ford went to John Hasbrouck; Best Truck (first place) went to Wayne Dove, (second place) went to Bob Hardman.
— Turnbull Wildlife Club drawing: First place ($250) went to Connor Pate; second place ($150) went to Carl Whitted; third place ($100) went to Robert Mullen; and fourth place ($50) went to Teresa Williams.
— Windsor UMC Youth 50-50: The winner was Peggy Monk, who won $84.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.