Dogwood Blooms Fun

May 13, 2024 / Donna Williams

Returning for the 37th year, the Farmville Dogwood Festival brought fun, family,music and more during the four day festival which ran April 25 – April 28. The festival kicked off Thursday with one-price rides from Micahel’s Amusements, concessions from the Farmville Fire Department and from Farmville Parks and Recreation. 

Courtney Bunting, a reporter with WITN, served as Mistress of Ceremonies during opening ceremonies before Farmville Mayor John Moore declared the festival officially opened. 

A special tribute to late Mayor Bobby Evans was also held. The tribute honored his life and his dedication and love for the Dogwood Festival. 

Following opening ceremonies, the band 2Digh4 took to the gazebo playing a mix of country and southern rock music much to the crowd’s delight.

Friday was a family fun day at the festival and featured more free entertainment for the whole family. Arts and crafts and commercial vendors joined the line-up with rides and concessions continued from various food vendors remaining.

“I like my Dad and Mom because they always come with me to the Dogwood Festival. I’m glad for them for taking me,” said Mason Rivers, 6, of Farmville. 

Friday night featured a street dance on Main St. featuring the band Tuesday’s Gone and Victor Hudson, who opened the show. 

The night also presented a Movie Under the Stars featuring Disney’s The Little Mermaid Sing-Along and was made extra special with appearances from live characters from the movie. 

Saturday featured a day full of festival fun beginning at 7 a.m. with a breakfast hosted by the Marlboro Freewill Baptist Church Youth on the town commons. 

The day also featured the annual Petals and Pedals family bicycle ride.

Rides and commercial and food vendors remained throughout the day offering well loved fair food as well as jewelry, crafts, fairy hair, and more. 

The Kids CoolFest also joined the festival roster. Sponsored and run with the Farmville Public Library, the Kids CoolFest provided children with free keychains, a fun craft, and a scavenger hunt the kids could partake in throughout the festival. Balloon animals and free face-painting offered at the Kids CoolFest tent was also a big hit for the children.

It’s A Zoo Life also returned to the festival this year bringing joy to children and adults as they were able to see and pet many different animals including chicks, a pig, a turtle, goats, and more.

Festival goers also had the opportunity to view three shows performed by Protown BMX Stunt Team. The Stunt Team performed amazing BMX feats on Main St. while delivering a powerful message to children to not give up on their dreams. 

Performances from Dance Unlimited and the Carolina Zumba Queens also delighted the crowds and they showed off their dancing skills and choreography. 

Musical entertainment from The Main Event Band, I-42 Band, Joyner Young and Marie and the Donald Thompson Band kept the crowd dancing and on their feet throughout the day as well. 

Saturday’s main feature – The Farmville Dogwood Bash – was also a success with a large crowd attending the festival’s main concert. The Dogwood Bash featured Grand Ole Opry member and Big Loud Records Recording Artist Lauren Alaina.Opening the show was the Jake Sutton Band and Austin Williams also performed. 

A celebration for Arbor Day was also held during the festival with a special storytime. 

Pitt County Ranger Robin Weber with the North Carolina Forest Service joined Farmville Public Library’s youth services librarian Heather Harden  with a special storytime featuring the book “Because of an Acorn” by Lola M. and Adam Schaefer. 

Each child who attended received a copy of the book to take home with them after they finished the read-along. 

“My favorite thing is celebrating the Dogwood trees because I like how the Dogwood tree blooms,” said Ally Nanney, 8, of Farmville. 

On Sunday, Farmville United at the Cross returned to the town’s gazebo for a morning church service. 

One price rides also returned for the day as well as the Kids CoolFest, and food and commercial vendors. 

A gazebo concert featuring the Chocolate Chip and Company Band closed out the festival that night. 

Organizers were delighted with the turnout.

“I think the festival went great. When we talked to most of our vendors and they had record years. A number even sold out. Our crowds were big each and every day. Our rides were one of the best years ever,” said festival chairman Dan Taylor

“The success of the festival is directly contributed to our volunteers, town staff, patrons, and especially our sponsors who allow us to put on the event that we have for the festival.”

This was the first festival Tiana Daniels of Greenville attended. She brought along her aunt Shirley Daniels, of Farmville, who admitted she hadn’t attended the festival in many years. 

“You get to go out and meet the community.  Farmville is already a small town with (the festival) you get to meet the locals and get to see what the town has to offer,” Tiana said. 

Shirley added, “I like this. Most people look happy.”

The festival brought extra fun to Reed Hightower, 6, of Snow Hill who was celebrating his upcoming birthday.

“It’s local community fun,” said Reed’s dad JD Hightower.

“We love to support the community. We have been coming for years.”

The festival brought many families together for a day of fun and allowed many to create lasting memories. 

“I love all of the festivals. We get to ride rides and spend time with our family,” said Grace Nanney, 9, of Farmville. 

Cayden Lamm, 7, of Farmville added, “I loved everything, especially the rides that don’t go so high.”

Scott Laumann