Weather threat cant stop street festivities

First Posted: 4/16/2011

RED SPRINGS — Despite cloudy skies, gusty winds and the threat of tornadoes, spirits were not dampened at the Red Springs Street Festival on Saturday.

A few hundred people converged on the block Third Street between Main and Cross streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We had a very good day, considering the weather,” said Diana Abbood, of Wilmington, who was working with the Red Springs and Northern Railroad Historical Preservation Society. “There were a lot of parents who brought their kids out and about.”

The railroad was open for a “Bubbles in the Breeze” tour to the edge of town and back to Main Street.

In the parking lot of the Red Springs Community Center, all manner of carnival cuisine was enjoyed. There were hot dogs, turkey legs, barbecue, funnel cakes, snow cones, cotton candy and more.

Excited children crowded around two clowns who entertained them with juggling and balloon animals.

Outside, Jef Lambdin, of the InterACTive Theatre, showed a local baseball team how to juggle — without uttering a word — as he performed as a mime and clown.

Meanwhile, in the Community Center, Pallaber the Clown made balloon animals and hats for a line of children and Diannee Hunt painted their cheeks with basketballs, baseballs, flowers and animals. “I want a ladybug,” said 6-year-old Diana Chavis.

Jessica Henderson, of Red Springs, sold neon-colored mesh wreaths at the arts and crafts table.

“I think it’s a pretty good turnout,” Henderson said. This was her first time at the festival.

Because of the high winds and chance of rain, musical and dance performers were moved inside at the Community Center.

Morris Cardenas, Mario and the Shakers, Red Springs High School Chorus and Gibson School of Dance cloggers preformed at the festival.

But the highlight of the festival was Lakota John and Friends. Lakota John Locklear, who celebrated his 14th birthday at the festival, is an up-and-coming star blues guitarist from Pembroke.

“We are so excited to have this talented and local young man here,” said Margie Labadie, festival organizer.

Lakota John, joined by his father, John, on guitar, and his sister, Layla, on vocals and tambourine, and other friends, delighted the crowd with music ranging from country, blues and Southern rock.

“We had a great time jamming,” said Layla Lockerlear, singer for the band.

The festival was beginning to slow around 3 p.m. Food vendors packed up their goodies and pulled down their tents.

The Red Springs and Northern Railroad car was placed back into its container.

“It was a great day, considering the weather,” Abbood said. “But I wish Mother Nature would have cooperated with us.”

The Red Springs Arts Council has held the festival for the past 30 years, according to Labadie. It is supported by a Grassroots Arts grant from the North Carolina Arts Council.

— Staff writer Ali Rockett can be reached at (910) 272-6127 or [email protected]

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