SPIVEY’S CORNER — Tony Peacock knows a lot about hollering.
He’s done it so well, he received a large trophy for it last year during the 2014 National Hollerin’ Contest. On Saturday, he had a little fun showing people how to do it during the annual Hollerin’ Heritage Festival at Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department. While demonstrating, he performed a couple of good morning hollers and a corn shucking call and response with the audience.
But after awhile, he had to hush and sign up to compete again.
“We hope that we have some new voices,” Peacock said a couple of hours before competing. “That’s what this demonstration is for. We want to preserve traditional hollering, but we also want people the know that everybody is welcome to do any type of hollering they want.”
The National Hollerin’ Contest was founded by Ermon Godwin as a way to fund the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department. It’s the biggest fundraising event for the department and includes a competition for men, women, junior and teens and conk shell blowing.
“You never know what’s going to happen when you get up there,” Peacock said. “We’re here to have a good time and try to raise money for the fire department.”
With an overcast sky, contestants and attendees hoped it would not rain like it did last year. But in the meanwhile, many enjoyed the third annual heritage festival portion of the event, which included live music, antique farm displays and living history exhibits.
“We’re appreciative of anyone that comes out and support us,” said Aaron Jackson, chairman of the festival committee and Spivey’s Corner volunteer firefighter. “We try to have something for everyone, the kids and grownups alike.”
Originally from Virginia, Susan Harris was a first-time visitor of the Hollerin’ Festival. She enjoyed petting horses shown by Gary Sessoms and provided by John Hudson Farms.
“Everybody is really knowledgeable about everything they’re showing you,” Harris said. “I thought it was fascinating about how North Carolina got its name as the Tar Heel State and learning how to make tar and pitch.”
Wayne Carpus, president of the Sampson County Amateur Radio Service, showed ham radio equipment to people in attendance.
“Ham radio is one those things where we keep in touch with the world, with no Internet,” Carpus said while relating the communication to the art of hollering. “It’s a way to communicate with people directly.”
During the festival, Doug Tompkins enjoyed showing both children and adults about blacksmith work. He said it was neat for people to learn about the heritage of the past.
“It’s not all about going to the store and buying something on the shelf,” Tompkins said. “To start it had to come from somewhere else. This is pretty much the grassroots.”
Tompkins believes his demonstrations went together with the tradition of old fashioned hollering.
“Back in the day, we didn’t have telephones — we had to holler,” Tompkins said. “When it was time for dinner, you had to holler.”
See more pictures from the Hollerin’ Heritage Festival, as well as a full list of contest winners, in Tuesday’s edition and later at clintonnc.com.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.