October is an incredible season in our community, and the Dogwood Festival is kicking it up a notch with its Fall celebration at Festival Park.
“We’ve always had our Historic Hauntings Hayride, I think this is our 14th or 15th year with that; now we are just expanding,” said Carrie King, executive director of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. “We used to do a lot over six nights, three weekends and we are condensing it into one big weekend event. There is so much to do in the Fayetteville area in October, so we are just trying a new approach.”
The City of Fayetteville, which normally has a haunted house, has asked the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival to spearhead the project so that the city can focus more fully on Christmas in the Park. This year, the haunted house will take the form of an outdoor haunted maze called the LaFayette Insane Asylum. Tickets are $6, or $5 with a canned good donation for local food banks. All proceeds will benefit Fishing to Fight Cancer.
Another fantastic collaboration affiliated with the Dogwood Fall Festival is the Zombie Walk, which is sponsored by the Rock Shop and the Downtown Alliance. “This year we have worked with them to reroute their walk so that it ends in Festival Park. Before they would go on the walk and end with nowhere to go, now they can eat, drink beer and watch a show,” said King.
A much-loved tradition that will also make an appearance in the festival is the traditional Historic Hauntings Hayride. Leaving every 30 minutes from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. each day of the festival, wagons will depart on an hour-long hayride and walking tour. Fayetteville’s surprisingly creepy past is revealed through skilled storytellers and actors along the route. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival website at www.faydogwoodfestival.com/events/2014/historic-hauntings---haunted-hayrides-.
Live entertainment is scheduled throughout the event. “The Saturday entertainment is a competition, which starts at 4 p.m. The judges will rate the performers and the winner will earn a spot on the stage in the spring Dogwood Festival,” said King.
“We are also having a Boo and Brew event sponsored by Bud Light. We will have 10 North Carolina craft beers as well as Bud Light available. Beers are available for purchase for $5 a pint or you can buy a reusable tasting glass for $25 and have as much as you want all day,” said King.
A new event is the Fayetteville Food Truck Festival, which is the first of its kind in Fayetteville, though the trend is spreading like wildfire across the country. “Lately the food trucks have been very popular, trending, if you will. We are anxious to build on that. In the last year, these food truck festivals have really picked up and we have gone to Raleigh and Durham and worked with their coordinators to bring some food trucks to Fayetteville,” King said.
Working on this new festival has revealed a great new aspect of the community.
“When we started planning, we discovered that Fayetteville has an abundance of food trucks, that I wasn’t aware of. So of course we are loyal to our local vendors and are extending invitations for them to participate in the festival. We have been very pleased with the response and expect that this festival will be very well received and that we can build into what we do,” King said. Just a few of the trucks participating are King Creole Truck, Ladybug’s Treats, Curbside Cravings, Captain Ponchos, R Burger and MasterBacon.
“The Dogwood Fall Festival takes place from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25. Thursday, the festival runs from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m. The Food Truck Festival is one day only, Oct. 25 from 3 to 10 p.m. The events are taking place in Festival Park is located at 335 Ray Ave. For more information, visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com or call 910-323-1934.