People began settling in the Cape Fear Region as early as the 1700s, and from the very beginning the textile industry flourished in this area. A sawmill was erected along Rockfish Creek and a town grew up around it; that was the beginning of something great. By 1890, Hope Mills was one of the largest communities in Cumberland County and just a year later it was officially incorporated as a town. This pattern of growth and industriousness has continued into the present and is celebrated annually during the Ole Mill Days. It’s a time to celebrate community, family and tradition. With tractor-pulls, corn hole tournaments, a Chili Cook-off and more, Ole Mill Days is a chance to have a great time and embrace the heritage of the town of Hope Mills.
Ole Mill Days is fun for the entire family and full of events that represent all aspects of the Hope Mills Community. Vendors, food and games for children of all ages are planned. The South View High School Key Club will sponsor a Haunted House, a tractor pull, the Mill Workers Reunion and even a Halloween costume contest.
“This all-day event is a fun-filled time, watching people, mingling with the crowds, visiting the vendors for Ole Mill Days, having WKML 95.7 and Up & Coming Weekly as our sponsors,” Jan Spell, the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, explained.
One long held and treasured tradition of the Ole Mill Days is the Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook-Off. Everyone from professional chefs to home cooks can compete in this competition, and the culinary skills of the town are truly on display.
“This is our 8th Annual Chili Cook-Off. It started with three pots of chili and a Nascar Bus, but last year we had 24 entries. We are also proud to have WKML 95.7 onboard along with adding our Cornhole Tournament sponsored by Up & Coming Weekly,” Spell added.
Not only is the Chili Cook-Off a fun way to show the great skills of the chefs of the community, it helps the community to grow. The Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable part of the community that supports all the businesses and citizens of the town, and this Chili Cook-Off supports the chamber. Spell explains the benefits and importance of the competition by saying, “The Hope Mills Chamber is a nonprofit organization, the Chili Cook-Off and Cornhole Tournament are the only fundraisers for the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce. The proceeds from this event help to keep the Chamber funded, since as a nonprofit we are membership based. All other events, for example the golf tournament, all proceeds are awarded directly to local charities.”
Make sure not to miss this fabulous and exciting event.
“If you miss Ole Mill Days, the Chili Cook-Off and the corn hole tournament, you have missed an opportunity to have a fun filed family day that will be remembered for years to come,” says Spell.
Ole Mill Days is at the Hope Mills Municipal Park, 5770 Rockfish Rd. It will take place from 12-6 p.m. on Oct. 19. For more information, visit www.visitfayettevillenc.com/event/2013/10/19/ole-mill-day or call 424-4500. For Chili Cook-Off information or registration form visit www.hopemillschamber.org.
Photo: Local cooks put their skills to the test at the annual Chili Cook-Off during Ole Mill Days.