The Second Annual Carolina Donut Festival was a huge success as thousands poured into the streets of Marion Saturday to celebrate “the sweetest event in western North Carolina.”

The event kicked off Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. with Bob to Bob’s Half Marathon which ran from Old Fort to Marion. The half marathon started at Mr. Bob’s Do-Nuts No. 2 in Old Fort. The runners continued all the way to Mr. Bob’s in downtown Marion.

In the half marathon, Mike Spath, 42, of Marion came in first while Heather Justice, 34, of Johnson City, Tenn. came in second and was the top female to finish. Jason Hoyle, 33, and Duncan Sharrits, 53, both of Nebo placed third and fourth respectively. In all, there were 94 participants in the half marathon.

The Donut Dash 5K had 116 participants. This race was held entirely within the city of Marion. It started at the Tailgate Market at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Tobias Finn, 14, of Nebo came in first place during the Donut Dash 5K. Samuel Vining, 23, of Marion, placed second while 36-year-old Hal Latner (no address listed) came in third. Randy Whaley, 48, of Shelby placed fourth.

Deborah Wright, 44, of Katy, Texas came in 10th place and top female to finish the 5K.

To see all the results from both races, visit this link

On Main Street, the festival got underway with lots of vendors, special events, music and of course doughnuts. There were inflatables and even a miniature golf course set up on the street. The Rockabillys played classic rock 'n' roll and country music.

And organizers were able to bring in other doughnut vendors from larger cities. The Donutologist from Marietta, Ga., Little Dunkers from Charlotte and Daylight Donuts from Johnson City, Tenn. were all warmly received by the attendees. Mr. Bob’s Donut had competing booths with tasty treats on both sides of the street.

On North Main Street, the Carolina Donut Festival featured Smokin’ Mountain Boys BBQ of Kings Mountain. Dave’s Hot Dogs and Leisa’s Kettlecorn, both Marion food trucks, sold their tasty foods. There were also funnel cakes, smoothies, a doughnut sundae and New York cheesecake dipped in chocolate or cherry, according to organizers.

On North Main, the Miss Carolina Donut Festival Pageant got underway. The MCs were Miss Mountain Glory Kaitlyn Helton and Miss Mountain Glory’s Outstanding Teen Piper Styles. The judges were Miss Asheville Melody Hager, Miss Blue Ridge Valley’s Outstanding Teen Maggie Effler and Miss Blue Ridge Valley Rachel Mower.

The 2017 Miss Carolina Donut Festival pageant winners were:

• Baby Miss – Addley Dowdley, parents Clay and Jennifer Dowdle of Marion.

• Toddler Miss – Quinn Mae Cashwell, parents Joey and Kimberly Cashwell of Marion

• Miniature Miss – Katherine Elizabeth Ross, parents Will and Jessica Ross of Marion

• Tiny Miss – Zoe Gregory, parents Rob and Michelle Gregory of Morganton

• Little Miss – Gracie Jordan Grindstaff, parents Ryan and Anna Grindstaff of Hickory

• Junior Miss – Tessa Abigail Ross, parents Will and Jessica Ross of Marion

• Majestic Miss – Skylar Rock, parents Scott and Cheri Rock of Marion

• Overall photogenic winner – Skylar Rock

The Glaze of Glory doughnut eating contest was back too. Representatives from the Marion Police Department, McDowell County Sheriff’s Office and the N.C. Highway Patrol competed against each other to see who could finish off the most doughnuts. Officer Austin Brooks with the Marion Police Department won the Glaze of Glory as he followed in the footsteps of Chief Allen Lawrence, who won it last year. He competed against Trooper Everett Reid with the Highway Patrol and Deputy Michelle Franklin with the Sheriff’s Office.

There was also a doughnut eating contest for the young ones. Doug McCraw was the master of ceremonies at the courthouse lawn.

Overall, the man who started it all was very pleased with the crowd who came to the Second Carolina Donut Festival.

“With the amount of donuts we sold and looking at last year’s results, I think it was close to last year’s number or slightly more,” said Robert Masiello with Mr. Bob’s Donuts. “It didn't seem as crowded, but we did have another block this year. It is surprising because there were so many other events that day and the weather was hot.”

Masiello said he also appreciates all those who worked to make it happen.

“Well I just want to thank everyone that made this all possible,” he said. “And to everyone that came out to support us for a great cause. That has always been my goal to bring this city together, and to have the downtown merchants working together as one to make downtown work.”

All of the money made from this event goes to McDowell County Schools.

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