Every year the Town of Hope Mills celebrates its history with the Ole Mill Days Fall Festival. The one-day event will be held Oct. 23 at the Hope Mills Municipal Park. Originally, called the Pumpkin Festival, the annual event was changed to Ole Mill Days six years ago as a way to recognize the various mills that once populated the town.

Sponsored by the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, the festival has vendors, storytelling, rides for kids, a chili cook-off, tractor pull, costume contest and dance and music performances. Scheduled performances by gospel artist Larry Chason and country artist Larry Frick are new events added to this year’s festival.

“We wanted to have something for everybody,” said Kenny Bullock, program supervisor. “So we added gospel and country [music].”

In addition, Bullock says there was more emphasis on attracting more craft vendors to the event.

“We’ll still have food vendors,” he said, “but we wanted [the festival] geared more to craft vendors.”

So far 21 vendors have confi rmed, and Bullock expects up to 40 vendors to participate.

Planning for Ole Mill Days begins in January. Bullock said the Recreation Department places advertisements in local newspapers to attract new vendors and notifi es prior participants so they can sign up. Turn out for the festival is usually good. Bullock said on average about 2,000 people attend the event each year.

While the Ole Mill Days has been a success, Bullock wants the festival to continue to become larger, possibly becoming a two or three day event. And he welcomes input from the citizens on ways to improve the festival

“We’re open for suggestions” he noted.

Events will be held at the Hope Mills Municipal Park, 577 Rockfi sh Rd. For more information, call 910-424- 4500.

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