Falling for Driver Days
Published 10:36 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014
Visitors during the first day of Driver Days on Saturday reported one of the largest parades in the annual fall festival’s 21-year history.
“I believe it’s the longest parade we have had,” said Eric Aberle, service officer with American Legion Post 88, which, like many other groups, political candidates and commercial vendors, took advantage of the popular event to connect with the community.
The parade wound through the village until about 10:30 a.m.
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There were school groups, like the Nansemond River High School marching band; first-responders, like Driver Volunteer Fire Department, whose members waved from fire engines; not to mention athletics and other youth groups, such as Elite Cheer and various Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops.
“It has been fantastic,” Lana Sadowski, Driver Days organizer this year, said mid-morning.
The Little Black Dress proprietor attested that the festival was providing a meaningful boost to Driver businesses.
“I’ve had more sales than I had last year by this time,” Sadowski said. “The vendors seem really happy, and we hope they have a fantastic turnout so we make some money and keep things going.”
When the parade ended, participants dispersed through the thick crowd thronging Kings Highway and surrounding streets. Proud mom Brittany Sands said her 5-year-old daughter Alaina Sands was thrilled by the experience.
“She was a little shy, but it was a lot of fun,” Brittany Sands said. “It was her first parade, and she loved it.”
Javonya Davis, 13, was toward the end of the parade with her Little League softball team, Crush. “This was my first (parade) — it was fun,” Javonya said.
Driver Days highlights this year are alcohol sales and professional wrestling, which on Sunday is scheduled for 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Other highlights Sunday include the pet costume contest and bike show and parade.
Sadowski revealed a late addition for Sunday’s major attractions – Nansemond River High School student Hayley Maddrey, who tried out for television show “The Voice,” will sing with Luke Willette, who had already been booked to perform.
At the stage Saturday, 3-year-old Luke Morris was grooving to some Johnny Cash songs, struck up by Arthrighteous Brothers.
“He loves Johnny Cash,” said Luke’s dad, Kemp Morris. “I have a record player at home, and he asks to listen to Johnny Cash.”
The Morris family calls Harbour View home, but enjoys Driver Days every year. “We like to come and support Driver,” Kemp Morris said.