Smithfield heralds back to Olden Days

Published 10:41 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

More than 5,000 people are expected to flock to Smithfield next weekend as the city kicks off the 15th annual Smithfield Olden Days festival.

“We want to have as much going in town as possible,” said Terry Thompson, event coordinator for Smithfield. “Just having an old-fashioned summer event in Smithfield, it’s awesome.”

The three-day event begins June 26 at 6 p.m. with a classic car show and disc jockey Tom Norris on Main Street and will conclude June 29 at 6 p.m. with the “A Little Bit of Swing” band concert on the lawn at 213 S. Church St.

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In between, there are events ranging from a Paula Deen look-alike contest and barbecue cookoff to the Pagan River Raft Race at Smithfield Station.

“When people come here to Smithfield, they always say how it’s good old-fashioned fun,” Thompson said. “And that’s what it is. For example, we have a Kid, Bikes and Pets Parade right on Main Street, and it’s all kids, bikes and pets. There are no bands. Parents walk right with their children and they dress up, and it’s fun.”

The event is free to the public, but some activities will cost money. For example, there will be Ghost Walks beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. Every 15 minutes there will be a tour until the last walk at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 17. Tickets are free for children under 6.

Thompson said the goal of the event is to bring people into Smithfield and for them to see that good things happening in town. Thompson added that people are getting that message because more people are stopping by to check out Smithfield.

Since the tourism office combined with the town’s art center four months ago, tourist traffic has gone up 97 percent. She said that Smithfield has been drawing tourists from Norfolk and Virginia Beach as well as from Pennsylvania and Canada.

“We are having record-breaking months,” Thompson said. “We’ve been popping over here. It’s wonderful.”

This is the complete schedule of events for next weekend:

Friday, June 26

6 p.m.: Classic Car Show with disc jockey Tom Norris, Main Street to Institute Street

8 p.m.: Rhondels on stage at Smithfield Times

Saturday, June 27

9 a.m.-noon: Olde Towne Curb Market, located on North Mason in Farmers Market Lane

HAMmer Fest Bike Race

10 a.m.: “Kids, Bikes & Pet” Parade, Main Street

Barbecue Cookoff and vendors at Joyner Field

10:45 a.m.: Awards for Parade behind the 1750 Courthouse.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Critters of Inspiration Petting Zoo.

Blue Fox Stables Carriage and Pony Rides

Antique cars and hot rods along Main Street in the 100 and 200 blocks.

Food vendors in the BSV parking lot next to Imagine Art and Main Street.

Crafters located in the 300 block of Main Street.

Rides and games

YMCA Dunking Booth in front of the Visitors Center

11a.m.: Paula Dean Look-alike Contest at the Smithfield Times Gazebo

11a.m.-3 p.m.

Tours of Mansion on Main, Meet at 120 North Church Street

Noon -5 p.m.: Arts Center at 319 Artists Exhibit on the lawn and porch.

Noon -1:45 p.m.: Ancient Men Band at Smithfield Times Gazebo

12:15-1 p.m.: “No Limit” Teen Rock & Country Group at 319 Main St.

2-3 p.m.: RS Cloggers Amy Coggeshall at Smithfield Times Gazebo

1 p.m.: Judging for the Barbecue Cookoff at Smithfield Times Gazebo

2:30 p.m.: Check in for the “3rd Ever Re-Inaugural Pagan River Raft Race” at Smithfield Station.

3 p.m.: “3rd Ever Re-Inaugural Pagan River Raft Race” at Smithfield Station

3– 4:45 p.m.: George Adkins Acoustic Trio at Smithfield Times Gazebo

8 p.m.: Ghost Walks

Sunday, June 29

6 p.m.: “A Little Bit of Swing” Band Concert on the Lawn at 213 S. Church St. (the King-Atkinson Home)

For more information about the event, call 357-2214.