By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
At no time of the year is Tarboro’s Town Common more bustling with activity than the second Saturday in May. It’s that time of year again and the 43rd Annual Happening on the Common is set for 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got a good day coming up,” said Carol Banks, event coordinator for the Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council. “We’ve got record-breaking (number of) vendors. So far we’re up to 56.”
An estimated 5,000 persons came to last year’s Happening, breaking attendance records for the festival.
“It was such beautiful weather; it couldn’t have been more perfect,” Banks said. “I’ve ordered that kind of weather for the 18th.”
Event coordinators have lined up a full entertainment schedule for the Happening. Local gospel musician Kristian Herring will be the emcee, and Larry McNeil will be the audio technician once again this year. The Tar River Band from Greenville will take the stage from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., as the opening act. Led by Conductor Jim Mauser, the community band plays a variety of music, including jazz, swing, classical and show tunes, and its members come from all walks of life.
Tarboro’s own Tar River Boys, a bluegrass band founded by the late Dr. Peter Temple, will perform once again this year. Other acts include the Stocks Elementary School chorus, the North East Carolina Prep School chorus with a special performance by Dirk Lumbard, Steel Standing Band of Pinetops, popular music singer JoAnn Josey of Scotland Neck, and a mariachi band from Washington.
Jacob Turner, a young magician, will entertain the children at the festival with his magic tricks. Children at the festival will also enjoy playing on the inflatables provided by Abrams Rentals.
Every Edgecombe Arts event features arts and crafts, and the Happening is no exception. The Scrap Exchange, a company based in Durham, is coming to the festival to show children how to make artistic creations out of scrap material. Arts and crafts vendors will sell everything from pottery, jewelry, handbags and garden ornaments to homemade jams and jellies.
Food will be another highlight of the Happening, as 12 vendors will offer “typical festival fare” to crowds.
“No one will go hungry,” said Banks.
The Happening on the Common may not be the largest festival in the region, but it is one of the oldest, said Banks.
“It first came into fruition by the Edgecombe County Memorial Library,” she said. Eventually, Edgecombe Arts took over the planning of the festival. The library is a sponsor of this year’s Happening, along with Keihin Carolina System Technology, Marrow-Pitt Hardware, Dr. G.T. Ward, Abrams Rentals, the Tar River Boys, Pitt Stop Concessions, the North Carolina Arts Council, The Daily Southerner and the North Carolina Community Foundation.
For more information about the Happening on the Common, call Edgecombe Arts at 823-4159.
10 a.m. Tar River Band
11:15 a.m. On Board Ministries
12 p.m. Stocks School Chorus
12:30 p.m. Mariachi Charros
1:45 p.m. Tar River Boys
3 p.m. JoAnn Josey
3:30 p.m. North East Carolina Prep School Chorus
4 p.m. Steel Standing Band
Kids Art Corner
All day – kids’ art project, kids’ temporary tattoos, Jacob the Magician, Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Scrap Exchange