Organizers of the Official North Carolina Gold Festival – set for June 1 – told the Old Fort Board of Aldermen Monday about a new promotional website, entertainment for the festival and an ambitious music project.
They also said they would like to reach out to the organizers of another local gold festival planned for that same weekend.
Deborah Millikan, event planner for the Official North Carolina Gold Festival, told the board about numerous additions and activities for the event.
“We have our own website now for the gold festival,” said Millikan, “which is live, and you can download all of the documents for the food vendors, participants for the Gold Album music project, as well as sponsorships for the festival.”
Activities for this year’s festival in Old Fort include gold and gem panning, gold vendors, a display of the NC Gold Trail, a display of the Bechtler Coins, games, food and live entertainment.
This year’s headliner, according to itinerary, will be Rick Scott, former member of the group Alabama, co-writer of the hit song “Why Lady Why” as well as “Tennessee,” performed by Johnny Cash. Scott has performed with Nashville stars like Earl Thomas Conley, Vern Gosdin and David Allan Coe, according to his bio.
Millikan talked about the NC Gold album project, an open invitation to North Carolina born or connected singers and songwriters to submit music for an album to be released this fall. Finalists for the album will be invited to perform at the Gold Festival on June 1 and notified later if they’ve won a slot on the album. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, April 28, with finalists notified on May 15. All entries must be original work of the singer/songwriter applying and must not include pre-recorded tracks.
In addition, festival organizer David Blackwelder suggested the idea of a shuttle between the festival in Old Fort and the competing festival organized by the NC Gold Foundation – which had been a source of controversy since the Gold Foundation’s plan to relocate from Old Fort to property it owns south of Marion last January. That festival is planned for the same weekend on May 31 and June 1.
“We welcome them to join in with us,” said Blackwelder. “We hold no ill will towards them, for any reason. It only makes sense for us to work together and it may be, if they’re willing to join in with us, to work out a shuttle. I’m thinking now we work it through the town and the county to get a possible shuttle going back and forth between the two sites.”
“This is really more of a county festival,” said Mayor Rick Hensley. “Like I said, there’s no ill will, even though it started out that way, but we want everyone to work together.”