Fun planned for Driver festival

Published 9:34 pm Friday, October 12, 2012

Sarah Noll of Norfolk, a member of the Tidewater Blacksmith Guild, pounds out a tiny iron “sword” for a young boy attending Driver Days last year. The 19th annual Driver Days will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 20 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 21.

The village of Driver is gearing up for its annual fall festival, Driver Days, on the weekend of Oct. 20-21, with a full schedule of entertainment and activities planned.

Event co-organizer Ken Parsons, of the Knot Hole Station store, said that the festival will have something for everyone.

“We have live music, the car show, then we have the Sherri Parker Memorial Run for motorcycles on Sunday,” he said.

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“We have a pet costume contest that’s always a crowd favorite. We have a large variety of food with many food vendors coming in this year, and inflatables … with a $10 wrist band (buying) all-day fun for the children.”

The music lineup includes Bria Kelly & Friends, the Smithfield teen who wowed the judges on “America’s Got Talent” this year; Honkytonk Highway, The Kevin Mac Band, Variety Pack, The Show Me Boys, Dixie Twister, and Blues Brothers tribute act Shotgun Blues Brotherhood.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 20, with the car show, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 21, when the poker run and bike show take place.

The Driver Days Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Oct. 20, and Parsons said that the hot dog-eating contest and cornhole tournament are other popular events.

The cornhole “will be drawing some of Hampton Roads’ elite players,” Parsons said, with the singles tournament scheduled for Saturday and doubles for Sunday.

Another festival attraction that draws folks from across the region is the Civil War re-enactors. “This is our fourth year with them,” he said.

“They come and set up a working campsite and do tours of the camp and then a couple of little skirmishes throughout the day. A lot of people love to come and see them — that’s one of my favorites.

Parsons also lauded the appearance of the “Space Ball,” a contraption where “they strap you in it and you are spinning in four different directions at once.”

“We will have monster truck rides,” Parsons continued. “We will have gas-powered miniature car rides; it’s like a golf cart, but they’re gas-powered. We’re working on bringing in pony rides.”

2012 marks the festival’s 19th continuous year. “It’s just a celebration of the community and to bring awareness to our businesses,” Parsons said.

“It’s a good old-fashioned, small-town street fair that people remember, but the new generation doesn’t.”

Parking will be at the Glebe Episcopal Church, 4400 Nansemond Parkway, with a shuttle service to the festival.

Parsons paid tribute to the groups, businesses and individuals that contribute to the festival, including the Boy Scouts, the Suffolk Humane Society and various churches.

Festival grand marshal this year is Richard “Dickie” Bunch, a Driver resident since 1962 who has operated an honor-system produce stand in the village since 1995.

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