By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Spring has sprung (finally!) and the merchants of downtown Wake Forest are celebrating it Saturday with an inaugural Dirt Day festival.
Dirt Day is a free streetfest running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on South White Street at East Owen Avenue in downtown Wake Forest.
The event, which is held rain or shine, promises something for the entire family.
“There’s going to be tons of information — lots of stuff to learn about outdoor activities you can do in the spring,” said Amanda Giustiniani, event chair.
“There’s a ton of vendors: Compost Mania, Paddle Creek. Custom Built Chicks will be talking about outdoor activities, getting fit,” she said. “And a lot of vendors are planning raffle drawings.”
For the kids, there’s a children’s village featuring a giant gravel pile where they can search for sharks’ teeth. There are yard games, including hopscotch, hula hoops, jump ropes, a beanbag toss, sidewalk chalk art and more.
Youths will also have the chance to play in an oversized sandbox, make wheatgrass containers for home windowsills and enjoy other arts and crafts activities.
Adults will have the opportunity to learn the latest techniques in gardening and composting, check out the newest in outdoor activity and camping gear, enjoy a beekeeping demonstration and visit with a variety of vendors offering a wide range of products and insight.
Master Gardeners and outdoor educators from the N.C. Museum of Natural History will also be on hand, as well as representatives from Wake Forest’s urban forestry and parks and recreation departments.
The Wake Forest Farmers Market will be present; the market runs simultaneously until noon next to the CVS.
While you’re perusing booths, two bands will wander the festival, including 80s Unplugged, voted the best cover band in Fayetteville; and jazzy combo Grayscale Whale, performing catchy street tunes on guitar, sax and upright bass.
And there’s a hot dog eating contest. Originally planned to be held the day of the downtown Mardi Gras March 1, the contest was canceled for fear of inclement weather that never materialized.
The contest is at 2 p.m. in front of Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs, 214 S. White St.
Offering unplugged music from roving minstrels, bands and bohemians and culinary delights from downtown’s wonderful array of restaurants and food vendors, Dirt Day is the perfect opportunity to shake off the winter blues, venture outside and get involved with an outdoor group that shares your interests.
The event is organized by Wake Forest Downtown, Inc., formerly the Downtown Revitalization Corp. Giustiniani is a member of its board of directors.
“We’re excited about it,” she added. “I think its going to turn out really nice.”
For more information, see facebook.com/wfdirtday, dirtdays.com or e-mail Lisa Newhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.