Driver Days deemed success

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Organizers of Driver’s annual street festival have declared this year’s event, held last weekend, a big success.

“I think everything went great,” said Ken Parsons. “The bands were wonderful, the monster truck was a new addition — it has been here (before), but we put more activities down that way so more people were able to see it.”

A tweaking of the festival layout was well received, Parsons said, and he paid tribute to the King’s Fork High School Marching Band for stepping in when the originally scheduled Nansemond River High band was unable to attend.

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“A big shout-out to them for stepping in and coming,” he said.

Parson’s mother Joan Mayo said, “Everybody seemed to have a good time that came.”

Food vendors “seemed to be happy,” she said, “and that’s an indication that it did really good.”

The coordinator of this year’s Driver Days was Matt Prince, who said the fine fall weather was a big factor in the event’s success.

“You can do all the planning in the world, but if it rains it ruins it,” he said.

“There seemed to be an optimism in the air … people seemed to be happy to be there.”

In terms of vendors, demand was so high, Prince said, that he had to be “innovative” to ensure none were left out.

“For the first time, we have already had vendors pre-register for the event next year, and some have booked two spots,” he said.

Festival grand marshal this year was Richard “Dickie” Bunch, known for his honor-system produce stand. “He doesn’t want a lot published, but his response to me … was, ‘If you can’t find anybody else, I’ll do it,’” Prince said.

Despite the apparent roaring success of this year’s festival, Prince said the organizing committee had “very few people.”

“We have had people move out of town and (others) just don’t want to do it anymore,” he said.

Lots of folks have approached Prince and other organizers with ideas to improve the festival, he said.

“I tell them, ‘I don’t need ideas, I need people who can come in and help,’” he said, adding he suggests that if they join the committee, their ideas might gain traction.

“They usually look at the ground and give you reasons why they can’t.”

Prince and other organizers are counting on the fact that next year’s festival will be the 20th to give it an extra boost.

“I’ve been here 15 years (and) 15 years is a drop in the water,” Prince said. “Some families have been here for 200 or 300 years.”