Eastover’s Civic Club President and festival co-chair Sara Piland has had a hand in the planning of Eastover’s Heritage Day celebration every year since its inception. She loves the sense of community it brings to the town.
    "It is a time each year that brings our community together for fun and fellowship and I think it strengthens our community," said Piland. "It bonds our community."
    Piland, along with her co-chair Barry Dugan, have been very busy ensuring that everything is just right for the festival and its attendees.
    The Eastover Civic Club, which is the sponsoring organization for Heritage Day, has been a part of the community for more than 50 years.
    "Four years ago we decided to do a Heritage Day and now it has evolved into an annual event and it has become quite popular," said Piland.
    With more than 100 volunteers ready to make it a special day, Piland noted, “It seems to get bigger and better every year.”
    May 3 is the big day, with festivities ramping up at 10 a.m., with a parade and exhibits.
    "It’s what you call a walking and golf cart parade," said Piland.
    The exception to that would be the Mustangs (of the automotive persuasion) that will be included.
    "Anyone who has a Mustang that would like to come out to Eastover that day and then park their car for display — they are invited to do that," she added.
    Lafayette Ford is sponsoring that event, called "Show Your ‘Stang."
    After the parade, there will be an opening ceremony where special guests are recognized and everyone is officially welcomed.
    "Our most special guest this year is state Rep. Rick Glazier. He is in the North Carolina House of Representatives," said Piland. "He is the legislator who represents our district and the one who successfully managed our incorporation effort. We just became incorporated in July 26, 2007."
    There are more than 60 vendor and exhibit spaces reserved right now, promising to be one of the biggest vendor/exhibit showings so far. Part of that exhibit area is going to include some activities related directly to Eastover’s heritage.
    "For example, we’ll have the Cumberland County Agricultural Extension Service. (They) will be doing an exhibit on the Longleaf pine and the importance of the turpentine industry to our area in years past," said Piland. "They’ll also do an industry exhibit on tobacco and what tobacco used to mean to our community because that’s also part of our heritage."
    Another event, a first this year, is a flag retirement ceremony.
    "Anybody who has a United States flag or state flag that they would like to retire (they can no longer use it because it’s worn), they can bring it and the local Boy Scout troop will be retiring those flags on Heritage Day through a ceremony," said Piland. 
    Of course, no festival is complete without food — and there will be plenty. There will be barbecue plates for $6, and homemade cakes and pies too, along with some raffles and a silent auction. One of the raffles is for a quilt and another is for an original painting by Charles McLaurin, who happens to be the mayor, but who is also an artist.   
    The featured performers that day will be gospel quartet Stillwater. They will perform at 1 p.m.
    "We always have a big crowd around 1 p.m. Everybody loves to come and listen to Stillwater sing," noted Piland.
    Two of the elementary schools will also have student groups performing as well. 
    "t really is going to be a great day. We are especially celebrating this year the incorporation of of Eastover," Piland said, adding that there will be an exhibit space recounting the journey of the town’s incorporation. “"We have some commemorative coins that have been very popular and those will be available that day, too."
    Parking and admission are free, just come to the community center in Eastover.  There will be events and exhibits going on until about 3 p.m.

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