Sarah Noll of Norfolk, a member of the Tidewater Blacksmith Guild, pounds out a tiny iron “sword” for a young boy attending Driver Days on Saturday. The Guild was one of many nonprofit, business and service organizations that were on hand during the 18th annual event.

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Sunny ‘Days’

Published 10:02pm Saturday, October 22, 2011

Driver event draws thousands

Thousands of people took advantage of clear skies and seasonal temperatures on Saturday to attend the opening of Driver Days, the annual celebration that brings turkey legs, hotdog-eating contests, cornhole and antique vehicles to the village in North Suffolk.

Whether they came to see the Nansemond River High School Marching Warriors, the Civil War re-enactors, the antique vehicles or the blacksmith demonstrations, folks attending the event had hours worth of exhibits and attractions to keep them occupied.

Children enjoyed bounce houses and kids’ games, and adults could participate in cornhole tournaments or ogle the dozens of old cars, trucks and even bicycles on display.

Following a parade that kicked off the 18th annual celebration, people flooded the streets of Driver, moving from booth to booth, from one enticement to the next as they headed toward the center of the village, where they could sit in front of Arthur’s General Store, site of the afternoon hotdog-eating challenge, and listen to music from the bandstand.

“It is an event that has always tried to be the old-fashioned get-together that’s based on kids and families getting together to enjoy themselves,” Driver Days treasurer Joan Mayo said last week. “It’s really good fun.”

Businesses and nonprofit organizations took the opportunity to set up booths to pitch their wares, their services and their missions to folks from all over Suffolk and throughout Hampton Roads.

Participants paid a fee to set up shop at the event. After covering the cost of the event, profits go to local causes, according to Mayo, who said organizers hope to raise $8,000 during Driver Days this year.

Some will go to the Driver Volunteer Fire Department for its help in the community and with the event, and a portion will go to Driver Furry Friends to help provide cat food and litter for cats that are being fostered while they prepare to be adopted.

The rest of the money will provide a scholarship to a Nansemond River High School student, Mayo said.

The event continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Parking will be provided at Berea Christian Church for $5. Additional parking will be available at Glebe Episcopal Church for $3, and a shuttle will take guests to the event.

All of the parking fees will be used as donations to the churches.

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