MAXTON — Maxton will go green on Saturday.
The seventh annual Maxton Collard Festival, which along with the collard sandwich has earned the town of Maxton the designation of Collard Capital of the World, is expected to draw several thousand people to the town’s Beacham Park for a day of fun, games and entertainment celebrating collards.
“This festival really brings the community together. It’s growing every year,” said Rita McEachin, a member of the committee responsible for organizing the festival that this year is being sponsored by the Greater Maxton Economic Development Corporation. “A lot of people are coming out of town from places like Charlotte and Maryland. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
The festival kicks off in the park at 9 a.m., with the official opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Activities are scheduled to continue throughout the day until dusk.
As they have been since the very first festival, collards, collards and more collards are the highlight of all of the day’s activities, said Gladys Dean, the festival committee’s chairman and former Maxton mayor. Dean has been the driving force behind the festival since its conception.
There will be a variety of collard competitions, Dean said, including food, clothing, orations and size. There also will be “The Taste of Maxton” event that will provide those attending the festival a chance to sample a variety of collard dishes.
Dean said that there will be games, music and entertainment for people of all ages. There will also be antique cars and tractors on display, a checkers tournament, arts and crafts booths, and a large variety of food.
According to the festival chairman, the popular U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will perform at 3 p.m. if the skies are clear. The forecast is cooperation, with sunny skies and a high of about 70 degrees.
To keep with tradition, a new activity is being added to this year’s festival.
“We always try to add something new, and this year it’s something called ‘Give Me a Human Head of Collards’,” Dean said. “This is a chance for people to add something to their hair and face to make them look like a head of collards.”