Erwin hosts 54th annual Denim Days

Celebrating the town’s heritage

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This weekend was Erwin’s turn to shine as fall festival season continues throughout the area. The Denim Days day-long celebration was held Saturday turning the downtown area into a place for fun for the entire family.

Now in its 54th year, Denim Days celebrates the town’s heritage and the textile once made there. Erwin was once the home of cotton mills, the first plant opening in 1903. The plants at one time produced a million yards of denim a week.

Changing hands, and names, a few times, the Erwin weave plant eventually closed in 2000. Erwin continues to remember the textile that once made the community the “Denim Capital of the World.”

Overcast skies didn’t dampen the spirits of festival goers Saturday as children lined the streets hoping to get some candy during the annual Denim Days Parade which started this year at 10 a.m.

The parade included more than 40 entries such as beauty queens, floats, youth and church groups, horses and mules, political candidates, antique cars and trucks, tractors, monster Jeeps, the Dunn Shrine Clowns and the Triton High School Marching Band.

A horse-drawn carriage carried the grand parade marshal, Susan Espinoza, a breast cancer survivor who competes in Spartan races all around the country. The parade theme recognized “Breast Cancer Awareness.”

The festival included more than 75 vendors offering a variety of items from jewelry to fall decorations, and plenty of festival food items, including favorites like funnel cakes and hot dogs.

Children could be seen with their faces painted like tigers and Super Heroes walking around after visiting the face-painting booth. There were plenty of attractions for the kids such as inflatable slides, a rock climbing wall and a bull ride.

Live music was performed by the acts Identity Crisis, The Aviators and The Fleming Road Band.

Alvin McArtan and the Sandhills Antique Farm Equipment Club was there with a display of antique tractors.

“It’s all about educating children,” Mr. McArtan said, expressing how important it is to inform children about the process of “from farm to table.”

Car enthusiasts were busy keeping their collectibles shiny at a car show held during the event.

Richard Powell of Fayetteville was watching over his bright red ’66 Chevy 2 Super Sport. “Big boy toys,” he said.

“I always try to come up here. It’s a good show.”

The Denim Days celebration also included a concert and street dance Friday night featuring music by the Lenny Epps Revue. On Sunday the musical “Experience God,” created by Gary Rhodes and Claire Cloninger, was presented by a community choir at Erwin First Baptist Church.

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