By Cramer Lewis
This Saturday Oct. 8 will be a day of family fun by the New River in Todd. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the 23rd annual Todd New River Festival will feature live music, crafts, food and activities for children. This long-running community tradition is sponsored by the Todd Ruritan Club and has become a highly anticipated boutique festival.
The festival will be held at the Walter and Annie Cook Memorial Park in Todd, right along the banks of the New River, which ironically is one of the oldest rivers in the world. The park is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Boone. Anyone heading out to Todd this weekend for the festival should expect a beautiful drive through scenic country peppered by changing leaves.
The festival is totally free of cost except for parking, which is only $5. Once at the festival, attendees should expect a family friendly environment where children can have their faces painted and play by the river as their parents enjoy the crispy fall air, while munching a hot dog and listening to the mingling sounds of trickling water and homespun string music. Attendees are also encouraged to bring lawn chairs to this laid back community gathering.
“This year’s the 23rd annual year, and it continues to grow. We should have a couple thousand people that come by this year. A Lot of people stay all day and a lot come and stay for a couple hours,” says Barry Stevens, board chairman of the Todd Ruritan Club. “We’ll have about 20 craft booths that sell anything from birdhouses to all kinds of crafts.”
While the festival boasts of live entertainment and interesting vendors in a beautiful environment, the food is what people often remember the festival for.
“The people enjoy the food that we have. We make some of the best barbecue in western NC. The ruritan cook the barbecue.”
In addition to live music and delicious eats, the festival will feature live storytelling sure to captivate and entertain the entire family. Other activities include an all-day arts and crafts booth; a checkers tournament; special nature themed activities for children, featuring a scavenger hunt and much more. In years passed there has been a raffle, which included prizes such as homemade furniture done by local craftspeople. This year’s big ticket item in the raffle is an 18 inch Stihl chainsaw. Tickets can be purchased throughout the day for $1 or 6 for $5, and the winner does not need to be present at the time of the drawing.
“At noon we’ll present the key to Todd for someone who has lived most their life in Todd and has dedicated a lot of hard work and service to the community,” says Stevens.
The Todd New River Festival aims to celebrate the historic community it is named for. It highlights the craftspeople, musicians, food vendors, and citizens of the region.
While the festival already has around 20 booths for vendors, there are still a few open spaces for anyone interested in selling goods at the event. For additional information contact Barry Stevens at 828-964-1362.