Grifton Shad Festival: Uncovering Childhood Memories and Exciting New Discoveries
Ah, growing up in a small town, where everyone knows your name (and your business too). I jest but honestly growing up in the small town of Grifton had its perks. One of them was the annual Shad Festival. When I was a kid it was the highlight of the year, and everyone looked forward to it. From riding the rides with friends to watching Kirby Edmonds win the Fishy Tales competition, I have many fond memories of this festival. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the festival after more than 20 years. I was thrilled to see how it had evolved over time.
My first stop when I arrived at the festival was to grab a delicious smoothie from Tropical Delights. I had heard that this Black-owned business from Durham was really good and was dying to check them out. Their smoothie was super delicious and the perfect refreshment on a hot day. It was a great way to kick-start my festival experience on a positive note.
A very pleasant surprise for me was seeing the traditional Mexican dancers perform. For most of my childhood, the only foreigner in town was my mother, and being Hispanic wasn’t an easy thing back then. I can still remember being teased in kindergarten for speaking Spanish and vowing to never speak it again. It was heartwarming to see how Grifton has grown to embrace diversity and added diverse cultural experiences to the festival.
Another highlight of my visit was meeting the craft artisans. Oh, what a delightful experience that was! It was like walking into a treasure trove of unique and handmade goods. From intricate pottery to fabulous jewelry, even handmade solid wood outdoor furniture, there was something for everyone. Seeing the beautiful and unique items they created with their own hands was truly fascinating. I couldn’t resist doing a little shopping to support them.
And let’s talk about the artisans themselves – they were a lively bunch with a passion for their craft that was infectious. It was clear that each item was made with love and care, and I felt like I was taking home a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The best part? Knowing that my purchase supports the local economy and helps these talented artisans continue to do what they love.
And as an agriculturalist, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some time with the farm animals at the petting zoo. Even though I wake up to farm animals often, I can never resist an opportunity to pet them. It was beautiful seeing all the little kids getting to know and appreciate these wonderful animals who do so much for us up close.
The Shad Festival was a fin-tastic event, but the live music was the real catch of the day. The performers were so good, they had the crowd dancing like they were hooked on a line. And, the catchy tunes even had us humming for hours after the festival ended. It was like a musical feast for the ears, and we ate it up like hungry piranhas. My favorite performer was Don Cox. I loved him so much that I had to make a mini recording of him for Facebook.
Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to grow up in a place where the community came together to celebrate like this. It’s a feeling that’s hard to replicate in a big city, where everyone’s rushing around and barely has time to say hello. So if you ever get the chance to attend a small town festival, do it. You never know what kind of memories you’ll make – or how many funnel cakes you’ll eat.