Without a doubt, we are a very festive people here in the Yadkin Valley. We have festivals for wine, for pumpkins, for fiddles, for farming, for leaves, for apples, for a television show, for a deep-dish pie…you get the idea.
But is there room for more? Of course there is, and I have a few suggestions for some new festivals. Now, some of these ideas are serious, some aren’t, but if you can’t tell the difference, don’t worry, because sometimes the craziest ideas can become the biggest successes. Consider, for example, the UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, which attracts upwards of 10,000 people from all over the world (and perhaps from other worlds?). Or the Cheese Rolling Festival in England, which also draws thousands.
Here then is my first (and probably last)
Top Ten New Festival Ideas for the Yadkin Valley
10) Tobacco Hornworm Festival. Hey, if someone can have a Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, we can have a festival with chunky green worms, can’t we? What can you do with a tobacco hornworm? Not much, which is why this idea only rates #10 on the list.
9) The Elk Festival. Perhaps the most fanciful story about how Elkin got its name is that someone a long time ago saw an elk jump in Big Elkin Creek, hence the name Elk-in (the creek). Since there haven’t been any elk here since the 1700s, we might have to get the Foothills Arts Council to apply their considerable costuming skills to make our numerous deer look like elk. I am confident, though, that both deer and the council are up to the task.
8) Honker Festival. No, no, I’m not talking about big noses, I’m talking about big noises, as in car horns. We already have cruise-ins, so now all we have to do is to honk the horns on all those cars. Think about all those noise ordinances we could legally violate. Think of the bumper stickers we could have: The Biggest Honkers in the World, or Honk If You Love Honkers. And a new business, Honkers Restaurant — oh, wait, we might get sued over that one.
7) Running of the Bills Festival. OK, look, how many guys (or girls) around here are named or nicknamed Bill or Billy or Billie? As you can guess, the inspiration for this festival is the world famous Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. Think this idea has no chance for success? Then tell it to the organizers of the Betty Convention, for women named Betty. The Bills festival theme song would be, obviously, “Billy Don’t Be a Hero”, that golden oldie from the 1970s. The festival would end with a rousing rendition of another 70s hit, that classic Jim Stafford toe-tapper “My Girl, Bill.”
6) Red Mud Festival. So we have all this red dirt in the Yadkin Valley, as well as several rivers— we just combine those two things, the river water and the dirt, and voila, instant festival. I can’t tell you how many times my mom said to me “You better not get red mud on your britches!”, so naturally the first place I went to was the nearest mud hole. At a mud festival, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a switching when I got home. Unless I wore brand new britches.
5) Humidity Festival. Sure, we don’t have as much humidity as, say, anywhere in South Carolina, but we have enough. My theory is, anything you have a lot of, celebrate it! There are snow festivals, rain festivals, and believe it or not, a fog festival, so why not a humidity festival? Just hope the weather co-operates. It would be expensive to have to truck it in…
4) Carolina Bird Festival. While our state bird (along with six other states) is the northern cardinal, let’s celebrate some other birds with Old North State connections. First on the list would have to be the Carolina wren, a feisty little bird that, if it were any size at all, would scare the heck out of any of the boys down at the sawmill. Or perhaps the Carolina Chickadee, or even the Carolina Parakeet would make for a good festival. The problem with the latter, of course is that they were declared extinct by 1939. But since parakeets are really parrots, if we could get Jimmy Buffet fans, known at parrotheads, to show up, well, talk about a huge festival…
3) Prairie Dog Festival. I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me. I have battled moles in my yard for years, but this year I have been confronted with a mystery. There are mounds of dirt popping up in various places in front of my house.
Have the moles grown extremely large or is there something else going on? I have thought about this a lot and have come to the only logical answer: prairie dogs have immigrated from one of the flat states. Is anyone else having the same problem? If so, let’s have a festival! See, what we do is to give each festival-goer two sacks, and send them out on a hunt. Why two? One sack for catching prairie dogs, and one sack for catching snipe. Good luck!
2) Cardboard Box Festival. This one is really just for kids, but like the Soapbox Derby, the whole family could get involved. Each participant would take a large box, the kind new appliances come in, and using their best artistic skills, turn it into a playhouse, or a rocket ship, or a car…anything, really. Imagination run rampant: let the sky, or the size of the box, be the only limit. There could be two divisions, one for boxes decorated at home, and another for boxes done on the spot. Non-participating children could play in the boxes, and the most popular boxes would be awarded prizes. Displayed on Main Street in any town in the Yadkin Valley, this festival might be immensely popular, because the formula is so simple: kids+boxes=tons of fun. That formula works with cats in place of the kids, but at the end of the festival it would be infinitely harder to round up all the cats. “Here kiddie kiddie” is much more effective than “here kitty kitty.”
1) Mayberry Marathon Festival. Amazingly, it’s roughly 26 miles from Fancy Gap to Pilot Mountain. Fancy Gap was mentioned in the Andy Griffith Show, and as we all know, in the show Pilot Mountain became the town Mount Pilot. What I think would be more fun, though, would be to devise a route around Mount Airy which would equal the requisite 26.2 miles that comprise an official marathon. Let’s see — from Snappy Lunch to Aunt Bea’s to the Mayberry Motor Inn to the Andy Griffith Museum is how far? Beats me, but as Andy might say, it’s a pretty fur piece. Along the way, there could be water stations with Otis look-alikes offering the runners swigs out of jugs. At least, we would hope it would be swigs of water.
There you have it. If any of you are associated with a board or a chamber or an authority or a council, please feel free to use any of these ideas. Just don’t list me under the “Liabilities” section of the insurance contract, OK?
Steve Martin lives near the Mitchell River and would like to have a Steve Martin festival. After all, there are 977 of him in the U.S. If you would like to see if there are enough of you to have a festival, please go to howmanyofme.com. If you have an idea for a new festival, you can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.