Group plans for 350 years in Currituck

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Cameron Lowe, Currituck County's Cooperative Extension director, speaks at a meeting where participants discussed ideas for the county's 350th anniversary celebration, Tuesday.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, November 27, 2017

CURRITUCK – A fair has been proposed as one way to help celebrate Currituck County's upcoming 350th anniversary.

Currituck Register of Deeds Denise Hall suggested such an event at a recent brainstorming session between county residents and leaders. The session was held Tuesday at the former courthouse, where participants pitched ideas on how the county could celebrate next year’s 350th anniversary. A little more than 20 people attended.

Hall said the fair could illustrate the county’s farming history, as well as the county's longtime role as a prominent location for fishing and hunting. The fair could also highlight Currituck’s history through the years.

"I mean, it would be a great time to have a county fair — and spotlight our county and put a lot of emphasis on a lot of the different things," she told fellow attendees.

"You could do re-enactments, have entertainment, food. You could highlight agriculture, boats, artifacts — all of that is what a county fair is," she said.

Hall said she believes the county has much to offer.

"It would be great to let everybody know what we are, what we have, where we came from — and a county fair is like the most fun place to present that," she said.

Also commenting was Renee Dowdy, principal at Currituck County High School. Dowdy, who is a native of Currituck, said to her knowledge Currituck has never hosted a county fair.

Dowdy emphasized the possibility of taking traditional events and programs in the county and including them as an ongoing part of the 350th celebration.

Dowdy said the celebration could include the Festival of Fireworks on July 4 at Historic Corolla Park, plus the Currituck Heritage Bulls and Barbecue gathering in September at the Rural Center in Lower Currituck.

Dowdy also said they could include the Dig into Agriculture Day, which seeks to educate schoolchildren about farming and farm life.

"So, maybe the events that we already do — and will continue to do yearly through the county — takes on that 350th flavor, but then something new with the county fair is how we celebrate this 350th anniversary," Dowdy said.

Barbara Snowden, a retired schoolteacher and the county's unofficial historian, first called for the brainstorming session. She then turned charge of the session over to Currituck Cooperative Extension Director Cameron Lowe, who's also responsible for community and rural development in the county.

Lowe solicited ideas for the 350th and received extensive feedback.

That feedback included:

— Having character actors portraying past prominent historical figures; showing videos of interviews with older residents of the county; and making old documents and newspapers available for viewing.

— Having cooking demonstrations of colonial dishes; having a boat tour of the county; offering canoe or kayak lessons; and having a driving tour of historic sites.

Another idea included using billboards to help promote 350th anniversary events throughout 2018.

Lowe said her plan is to put all the ideas into a single document and then share them.

Lowe also said she's going to send out a response or survey to find out where residents are willing to pitch in to help.

Hall also said that weather in October was generally nice in Currituck county and would be a good time to hold the fair. 

"It's not hot. It gives us time to plan," she said.

Currituck Travel and Tourism Director Tameron Kugler said May is usually a nice month, but Hall said that doesn't allow for a lot of preparation time.

Attendees were upbeat after the session.

"I think I'm excited about what's next and seeing our ideas come into fruition," Dowdy said. "And I hope maybe my kids sit here in these same seats 50 years from now and maybe do the same thing for the 400th."

Virginia Serpico, of Moyock and who's a home-based freelance editor, said she believed the session was "super-productive."

"I think we've got a great starting point," Serpico said. "We've got a lot of things I think a lot of people are going to want to do — and want to come to the county to do."