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Had it been special ordered, Saturday’s weather could not have been any more beautiful for Clinton’s annual Court Square Street Fair and Barbecue Cookoff, the exclamation point, if you will, to a day that was perfect in every way.
Thousands meandered through the downtown and the side streets leading to the main thoroughfare in what had to be taken straight from a Norman Rockwell painting — a picturesque sight of children laughing and eating cotton candy and popcorn, clutching donated stuffed animals from the Bee Hive, brightly smiling adults munching on some of the best barbecue around these parts, and vendors, their colorful wares dotting the landscape, calling out for attendees to stop, shop and stay a spell.
And that was just in the heart of downtown. Just a block off Main, hundreds of spiffy cars, their shiny hoods up and their engines shined to glistening, beckoned visitors to come a little closer — but not so close as to touch — inspect and, yes, even drool over them, all courtesy of the Old Lightning Car Clubs annual car show.
A little further down Lisbon, at the History Museum, there were dozens of artisans showing off their skills and selling their wares. From wood-burning to llama rides, homemade ice cream to gospel music, and a whole lot of hot dog eating, visitors got all their senses delighted.
And, right across the street, the Celebrando la Raza - Festival de la Calle at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, brought out hundreds of Hispanic residents to fellowship together and join with others both at their site and throughout the downtown in what was a complete Court Square Festival that offered something for everyone.
Combine that with earlier events Saturday morning — the Care Fair at the Center for Health and Wellness, the Downtown Dash, which brought some 150-plus participants to pound the pavement around Clinton, and the annual Breast Cancer Support Rally and Walk — and it was a day that touched just about every life in Sampson County and beyond in some way.
Those who attended had the opportunity to shop, eat and fellowship, a gigantic family and class reunion rolled into a celebration of the city, its downtown businesses and beyond.
The laughter and the smiles were the testament to what a great day it was for every person, from every walk of life, and it is a day we should all be proud could be held in our fair city.
Hats are off to City Planning Director Mary Rose and city planner Audrey Whetten and their collective committee who spent tireless hours preparing for this event, the largest, we think, in the history of the fair.
We said before Saturday’s event that it was the kind of activity that could put Clinton on the map. We believe it did, and we know it endeared our city to thousands from Sampson and beyond who had an opportunity to cast their cares away for a few beautiful hours Saturday, simply enjoying the moment and the myriad activities available to them.