Goldston festival has 'hometown feel'
With a combination of crisp autumn air and the smell of homemade goods wafting from downtown Goldston, all signs pointed toward success for the 26th annual Goldston Old Fashion Day, according its vendors and attendees.
A yearly tradition for the Chatham County town, located near the Lee County line, has continued to gain support from the neighboring community, according to Lisa Denkins, festival organizer and member of the Goldston Lions Club, which sponsors the traditional street fair.
"It has grown for sure," she said. "But we've stayed true to our local vendors and roots. We want it to have that hometown feel."
This festival has a friendly atmosphere with close to 3,000 street fair visitors and a vast majority of the 98 vendors from Central Carolina, she said.
"We want people to have a great time, and there really is something for every member of the family," Denkins said.
Lariss Dowdy, owner of Goldston-based Von's Grill, was busy serving sausage dogs topped with chili, mustard, slaw, onions and peppers to hungry customers throughout the day, and said she's been serving food at the Old Fashion Day for the last few years.
"You get to see old friends," she said. "I hope more people learn more about Chatham County, about Old Fashion Day and about how things used to be done in the past."
Younger generations should appreciate and understand how items and everyday accessories were crafted in days past, Dowdy said.
Jene Goldston was selling his wife's handwoven baskets, and said they've been peddling their wares for a number of years at the festival.
"We really enjoy it," he said. "And we enjoy all of the people we meet in the process.
Cousins Caleb Farrish, 6, and Daniel Green, 6, didn't have much time for an interview — they were headed toward the play area featuring a bounce castle, butterfly tent, hula hoop lessons and free balloon animals — but did quickly say they enjoyed the pony rides and getting Spiderman painted on their face.
Kay Wilkie, of Wilkie Farms, helped small children onto the backs of four small horses, and said they've been a vendor at the Old Fashion Day since the beginning.
"It's something the kids don't get to do very often," she said. "Something different."
Silas McIver, 9, and Riley Lee, 6, pulled a blue cooler as they walked up and down the street passing out water to thirsty shoppers.
"It's pretty cool," Silas said, and both said they enjoyed the play area of the street festival.
Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster handed out balloons, stickers and plastic bracelets with several of his officers, and joked this was one of the few times people got to see the department with "its hair down."
"It's a good time, a safe place," Webster said. "We are building relationships within the community, and not in a stressful situation."
Heather and Chris Morrow brought their children, 14-year-old Dakota and 2-year-old Aireanna, to the festival — an annual trip for the Siler City family.
"We love it," Heather said as she held Aireanna, who had a pink painted butterfly on her face. "It's fun for everyone, and this is our first year she's ever had her face painted. So it's all about the face paint right now."
Estella Egerton, of Sanford, was selling her throw blankets, pillows and other items, and said this is her sixth year at the festival.
"There is a lot of different talents here," she said, adding her shop is called Creations by Estella. "And very talented people, and I hope people appreciate those talents."