WHITE LAKE — As White Lake and the surrounding areas begin to plan for the thousands of guests that will visit the area for the summer, the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is busy finalizing plans for the event that jump-starts the season — the White Lake Water Festival, which will take place Friday and Saturday.
“The Water Festival is designed to kick off the tourist season for the lake for part-time residents, full-time residents and the neighboring community,” said chamber Executive Director Dawn Maynard, “so we’re hoping for good participation.”
In its 38th year, the Water Festival’s activities will start on Friday evening with a Classic Car Cruise-In at 6:30 p.m. and with a street dance and free concert featuring the Southern Touch Band at 7 p.m.
“I really want to encourage people to take advantage of kicking off the festival on Friday night,” said Maynard. “The concert and dance are free to the public, and they can come and enjoy music and walk around and check out the car show.”
Saturday morning’s activities begin with a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Bladen County Firefighters Association Color Honor Guard. It will run from 7 to 10 a.m. at the White Lake Fire Department.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. with Grand Marshal Port City Clowns, who will hold a meet-and-greet under the main tent at 3 p.m.
“The parade is the longest parade in the county,” said Maynard. “It’s 2 miles long, and folks line the streets from Camp Clearwater all the way to the Scotchman.”
For lunch, in addition to street vendors, the White Lake Fire Department will hold a BBQ fundraiser. The cost is $7 per plate, and they will begin serving at 11 a.m. and continue until they run out.
At Goldston’s Beach, arts and crafts vendors, business booth displays, Isabella the Clown, carnival rides, face painting, a petting zoo, and live entertainment will be on site. At the lake front stage, various people and groups, such as the Gaddis Family and the Fayetteville Christian Praise Band, will be entertaining guests. Under Goldston’s main tent, the Rivermist Band, Blackwater Rhythm and Blues, and Southern Touch will be providing music from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“Folks shouldn’t miss catching the entertainment under the main tent,” Maynard stated. “We have excellent bands throughout the day, and the concerts are free.”
A semi-professional wrestling arena will be set up as well, with entertainment at 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30.
Miss North Carolina USA 2016 Allie Dunn will participate in the parade and be available for a meet and greet under the main tent from 11 a.m.-noon.
On Hwy. 701, antique tractors will be on display, a Classic Car Show will accept registrants from 8 a.m. until noon, with judging taking place between noon and 3 p.m., and a lawn and garden tractor pull will take place beginning at 2 p.m. The cost for the tractor pull is $5.
Saturday night from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. The Venue will host a dance featuring The Castaways. Admission is $15.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.