Vendors, music, festivities shine at Broadway Our Way
Town officials held their breath Friday night as storms ripped through Central Carolina. But come Saturday morning, the sky was clear and it was the crowd which poured into Broadway for its fifth-annual Broadway Our Way Festival.
The event featured more than 80 vendors, several musical acts, activities for children, various competitions and the barbecue cook-off.
Broadway Mayor Donald Andrews said he was pleased with the turnout of people at the festival despite the thunderstorms the previous night.
"It's been great," he said. "We are fortunate to have some of the best volunteers. I hope people have a good time and come back to Broadway and visit our businesses."
Town Manager Bob Stevens agreed, and said the volunteers secured and fastened everything to the ground to keep it from blowing away during the storm.
"The sun has come out and the crowd has begun to gather," Stevens said around midday Saturday. "We're expecting it to pick up once the street dance begins."
Nnaemeka McLean said it was her first time at the festival and that her mom was one of the many vendors participating this year.
"It's been a lot of fun," she said. "I'm looking forward to the food and the rides."
The Friends of the Lee County Library was one of the many vendors at the festival and volunteers, including Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive, sold books at the booth.
"I am so proud of Broadway," Olive said. "They really demonstrate what unity and teamwork is about."
Broadway has an excellent group of organizers who work extremely hard to make the festival a reality, Olive said.
Further, pass the lines of vendors selling pottery, artwork, crafts and gadgets, chrome and metal were on display for the classic car, truck and tractor show.
Little River Cruisers President Mike Comfort was one of the several classic car enthusiasts who proudly displayed their vehicles during the festival.
"We come every year," said Comfort, who lives in Broadway. "It's a lot of fun and we like to come out and see as many festivals as possible."
People enjoy the classic car shows because it reminds of their childhood, he said.
"They come up to us and say 'That's what I learned to drive on' or 'My dad had one of those,'" Comfort said.
Near the entertainment stage, dozens of children played in free bouncy castles and slides, rode a mechanical bull, climbed a rock tower or got their faces painted.
Painted on 10-year-old Madison Shackelford's face was a blue dolphin and jumping on the inflatables were her favorite parts of the day. She said she got a dolphin because of a recent trip to a museum where she purchased a dolphin necklace.
Her mom, Brandi, said she attended the festival to have quality time with her family.
Gary Lane and his 9-year-old son, Jonathan, were participating in their first Broadway festival as part of a demonstration with the Black Belt Leadership Academy.
"I am here to show my support for the academy so he can demonstrate some of his skills," Gary Lane said.
Jamie Redley, the supervisor of the kid activities, said she was pleased with the outpouring of kids and the teenagers who were helping from various high schools and church youth groups.
"I hope they get a sense of what a tight-knit community Broadway is," Redley said. "And that they come together for a fun-filled day."
Lee County Commissioner Amy Dalrymple, who lives right outside Broadway, said the festival is "without question one of the best events in Lee County."
"It's good food and good fellowship," she said. "And it gets bigger and bigger each year. People need to put it on the calendar and make sure to attend if they didn't come this year."