Turkey dinner, parade returns for Fall Festival

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Yes, the rumors are true: the Fall Festival will once again serve up a turkey dinner with all the fixings, and the parade returns to Main Street this year.

The North Carolina Fall Festival will kick off in October with events including the Marvin Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament, Turkey Bowl football game and of course the street fair on Main Street with live music and plenty of vendors.

The returning turkey dinner, once known as the Stuffin’ and Stompin’ dinner, has especially gotten people excited, Judy Pittman said.

“Every time we turn around, it was, when are you going to get the dinner back? And we were able to secure sponsorship and got in touch with a company about the turkeys. We’re excited for that,” she said.

The dinner was a mainstay of the festival for many years, though the pandemic and other factors put it on hold. It will be back this year at West Hoke Middle School, where Hoke County Schools Child Nutrition staff will prepare the turkey and all the sides to go with it.

Plates for the dinner are $10 and tickets are going on sale this week, Pittman said. Tickets will be available at the Chamber of Commerce on Main Street in Raeford. Hoke County Schools staff will also be selling them.

Hungry diners can eat in the school cafeteria during the dinner, or pick up plates to go. The dinner will be from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, October 14.

Another returning feature for 2022 is the Fall Festival parade. It’s been a few years since the Festival featured a parade due to the pandemic, but it’s back once again with marching bands, floats and fancy rides on display.

The parade route will be similar to the route from 2019, the last year the Festival held the event, Pittman said. Organizers are waiting on final confirmation, but as it stands now, the parade will leave Hoke High School, travel down Harris Avenue, turn onto Main Street, and circle back around to Harris Avenue to end at the high school.  The parade is set for Thursday, October 13.

The Second Annual Marvin Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament is set to take place October 8-9 at Bayonet at Puppy Creek, located at 349 South Parker Church Road. The entry fee is $150, and applications are available at the N.C. Fall Festival office or online at bayonetgolf.com.

But first the Hoke High Bucks football team will take to the field at Raz Autry Stadium to battle it out for the Turkey Bowl trophy Friday, October 7. The game night is also the 2022 Hoke High Homecoming celebration.

A special event for senior citizens is returning, too, with fun events and lunch served at the Robert Wright Hoke County Agricultural Building on Palmer Street. Melissa Kaye Senior Day is set for Wednesday, October 12.

And, the big day downtown on Main Street will be Saturday, October 15.

For more information on the Fall Festival, call the Fall Festival office at (910) 904-2424, email ncfallfestival@gmail.com or visit the office at 101 North Main Street in Raeford.

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