Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday

Whether you call it Bells Corner, Shepardsville or just plain ole Newport, this weekend is the time to come celebrate the community’s history at Newport Heritage Days.

The Newport Heritage Committee, operated under the sponsorship of the Newport Historical Museum, is throwing the town celebration Friday and Saturday as a lead in to next year’s sesquicentennial celebration. The community was incorporated on Jan. 30, 1866, and 2016 will be the 150-year anniversary.

According to Dianne Johnson, volunteer executive director for the museum, the events get started at 5 p.m. Friday in Newport Community Park with music in the park and food vendors until 9 p.m..

A 10 a.m. parade kicks off events on Saturday, with the start at the garden center on Chatham Street and then turning on Howard Boulevard at the railroad tracks and continuing to the park.

“I have got between 75 and 100 units in it,” said Joyce Ferrell, a parade committee member.

She said the parade would feature tractors, antique cars, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band and the West Carteret High School band, the Newport Fire Department, the West Carteret Future Farmers of America and the Newport Moose Lodge.

Bobby Pollard will serve as grand marshal.

“He is a farmer and raises collards,” Ferrell said. “He’s just been a farmer all his life.”

Festivities continue at the park after the parade from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fat Fellas in Newport is scheduled to cater the main meal beginning at 11:30 a.m. but other food vendors will also be on hand.

“All day long we will be having musical entertainment under the big pavilion,” Johnson said. “We will be having a town tour. There will be demonstrations on tobacco tying, braiding cured tobacco, sausage making, cow milking, wine making, quilting and spinning for making threads to make yarn.”

A petting zoo, games with prizes, a fossil dig, and displays of antique trucks and cars are also part of the event. An old country store is scheduled as well as individual crafters and artists with items for sale.

The Fifth North Carolina Troops re-enactor group is scheduled to hold cannon and musket firings. The Battle of Newport Barracks was fought during the Civil War on Feb. 2, 1864.

According to Johnson, the Newport name was in existence in the 1700s because of the organization of a church. In 1780, the Newport River Primitive Baptist Church was organized. She said there used to be a dock along the river in Newport that was used to transport goods to Beaufort.

Admission to the event is free, and the museum will be open Friday and Saturday. Alcohol, dogs other than service dogs and weapons are not permitted.

For more information, call John Davis 223-5509, Mary Sherwood at 223-6300 or Johnson at 241-1793.