Pumpkin festival, regatta, quilt show set for Saturday


By Troy Brooks - [email protected]



Artie Phillips landed in the Top 10 last year with his 683-pound pumpkin during the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival weigh-off.


Photo courtesy of Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce

Joe Hicks prepares rubber ducks and turtles for last year’s Duck & Turtle Regatta.


Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

Ducks and turtles float down the river during last year’s regatta.


Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

Volunteers launch the ducks and turtles into the river during last year’s regatta.


Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

The 2015 Challenge Quilt Challenge where quilters had to use black, white, and a third color in their designs.


Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

The 2015 best of the show winner voted by visitors to the show, made by Jo Seagle of Sparta.


Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

The inside of the 2015 Quilt show in the Galloway Episcopal.


Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

Several events and festivals are coming up this weekend, including the 20th annual Pumpkin Festival, the Duck & Turtle Regatta, and the quilt show in downtown Elkin.

The 20th annual Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival is kicking off Saturday in downtown Elkin. The festival will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free to the public.

“The festival has a hometown feel,” said Myra Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event. “With it being in downtown Elkin, people can see what Elkin is all about.”

The festival has drawn farmers growing the giant gourds for two decades now in the Great Pumpkin Weigh Off to see which one weighs the most. Pumpkin growers often travel from all over North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee for a chance to win the $1,000 first-place prize. The weigh-off will be on Standard Street this year. Last year’s winning pumpkin weighed 1,318 pounds, a pumpkin so large it required a forklift to move it.

“This was a way for the farmers to have their pumpkins official to take to the county and state fairs,” said Cook. “We have farmers coming from as far as Ohio and Tennessee. I often get on the street at 5:30 in the morning and there will be farmers already setting up there. They are dedicated.”

This is the 20th year of the pumpkin festival. So far, there are more than 72 craftsmen and vendors signed up for the day and people are still calling in. Vendor stalls will be stretched down along Main Street as far as The Liberty. Local artists, craftsmen and food vendors will be setting up shop along Main Street featuring many goods including yard signs, crochet, monogramming, puppet makers, woodworking, pottery, artisans, dolls, and even dog toys.

A car show also will be taking place in downtown Elkin throughout the day. Children’s activities, including carnival rides and bounce houses, will be hopping during the festival.

At the end of the festival, the annual Duck & Turtle Regatta will close up the day with rubber ducks and turtles racing down Big Elkin Creek and over the waterfall by the Elkin Public Library.

“We get people to adopt a duck or turtle,” said Bill Blackley, coordinator with the Elkin Valley Trails Association. “At the end of the pumpkin festival, we launch the ducks and turtles at the end of the festival above the library dam and the Boy Scouts catch them with nets, and 40 people will win prizes.”

Prizes for the regatta include a kayak with a paddle from Yadkin River Adventures, bicycles from Walmart, zoo tickets, Tweetsie Railroad tickets, shoes, meals at local restaurants, a grill from ACM, and many more donated prizes.

“It’s a joint venture that kids can enjoy,” said Blackley. “It’s a fun event to see the ducks and turtles go over. The kids benefit by exposure. We work with the Boy Scouts on service projects. I enjoy the race itself, but mainly I enjoy the spirit of togetherness that we’re all working for the common good of the community. Everyone who wants to participate can.”

The regatta raises money for service to the community and has been going on for five years.

The Foothills Quilters of Elkin also is holding its 10th annual quilt show this year Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Galloway Episcopal Church. Quilts will be on display at the church during the day along with wall hangings, modern and classic designs, and challenge quilts where quilters must make a quilt in correspondence to a set theme. People also will be asked to vote on their favorite quilt. Last year’s winner was Jo Seagle from Sparta.

“The church was built in 1898, so it makes it a very nice venue for the quilts to be displayed in,” said Vicki Whelan, secretary and treasurer of the Foothills Quilters of Elkin. “The church is a great place to hold the show because it just sings with all the colors against the brown wood. This year’s quilting challenge features the theme of doing anything with the number 10, which could be 10 bunnies, 10 quilt patterns, anything.”

The quilt show came before the guild in Elkin was formed. “The first show, we checked to see if people were interested in having a guild locally or not, and several people signed our notice. Every year, we ask for quilts from anybody, the local guilds, surrounding guilds, or anybody who has a quilt that needs to see the light of day.”

All quilts are made by fabric donated by members of the community.

The guild will have a display of quilts of valor which their members and members of other local groups get together to make and send off to service men and women.

The quilters’ yard sale will be held across the street from the church.

“I love just seeing the people who come in awe,” said Whelan. “There are so many people who really love quilts and the fun thing is someone who comes in who says, ‘I never liked quilts, but this is pretty neat.’”

Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.

Artie Phillips landed in the Top 10 last year with his 683-pound pumpkin during the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival weigh-off.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Artie-Phillips-Top-10-Pumpkin-2015.jpgArtie Phillips landed in the Top 10 last year with his 683-pound pumpkin during the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival weigh-off. Photo courtesy of Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce

Joe Hicks prepares rubber ducks and turtles for last year’s Duck & Turtle Regatta.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Duck-turtle_20151017_21EVTA.jpgJoe Hicks prepares rubber ducks and turtles for last year’s Duck & Turtle Regatta. Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

Ducks and turtles float down the river during last year’s regatta.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Duck-turtle_20151017_17EVTA.jpgDucks and turtles float down the river during last year’s regatta. Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

Volunteers launch the ducks and turtles into the river during last year’s regatta.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Duck-turtle_20151017_04EVTA.jpgVolunteers launch the ducks and turtles into the river during last year’s regatta. Photo courtesy of Bill Blackley

The 2015 Challenge Quilt Challenge where quilters had to use black, white, and a third color in their designs.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_2015-Challenge-Winner.jpgThe 2015 Challenge Quilt Challenge where quilters had to use black, white, and a third color in their designs. Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

The 2015 best of the show winner voted by visitors to the show, made by Jo Seagle of Sparta.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_2015-Best-of-Show.jpgThe 2015 best of the show winner voted by visitors to the show, made by Jo Seagle of Sparta. Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

The inside of the 2015 Quilt show in the Galloway Episcopal.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_2015-Church.jpgThe inside of the 2015 Quilt show in the Galloway Episcopal. Photo provided by Vicki Whelan.

By Troy Brooks

[email protected]

Elkin Tribune
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