NC Whirligig Festival Goes Virtual
The 2020 North Carolina Whirligig Festival is going virtual. Due to the continuing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival planners have made some difficult decisions to make drastic changes. The festival will still be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8, 2020 however instead of on the streets of historic downtown Wilson, it will be on the whirl-wide-web.
The North Carolina Whirligig Festival is a premier Fall celebration of the Vollis Simpson whirligigs. It’s unique mix of whirligigs, arts and crafts, food, music and family entertainment that typically brings approximately 30,0000 visitors to Wilson. November 2020 will be the 16th year of the festival.
“We originally thought the festival would be just fine since it was so late in the year. We were looking forward to being the community event that brought everyone back together,” said Theresa Mathis, festival director. “But with the most recent Governor’s Executive Order we realized there simply is not enough time for conditions to improve and everyone to be safe.”
Festival planners are meeting regularly via Zoom to explore how each area of the festival can be approached in a new way. At the top of the list are virtual options such as a Virtual Marketplace for online shopping. This will be just in time for the holidays. Vendors are being contacted individually for participation. The Virtual Marketplace will open the weekend of the festival and remain open through December.
Other ideas being explored include a promotion of downtown merchants, a virtual 5K, a Tik Tok challenge, a throwback photo contest and a chalk art contest. Anything that can be switched over to online will be incorporated. Local agencies and organizations will be included as much as possible.
“We’ve seen how creative other festivals are getting with their ideas and we hope to incorporate everything we can and add a few of our own,” said Dindy Perry, Chair of the planning team.
Second on the list of considerations are pre-recorded videos that can be released the weekend of the festival, such as band performances, dance performances and a kiddie show. These activities require sponsor funding. The team is still seeking local organizations that may be able to support these types of activities.
Major community partners have been included in discussions of virtual opportunities and most are excited to explore new and unexpected ways to interact with the community.
“This festival has faced many challenges over the 16 years,” says Jeremy Munn, executive board member. “But each time we have grown stronger and become more creative.”
“We understand people are disappointed, so are we,” said Sheryletta Lacewell, the longest serving member of the festival planning team. “We love our community. And that is why this difficult decision had to be made. It is the only responsible solution. We want to keep the safety and well being of Wilson as top priority.”
As ideas and opportunities are realized, more will be shared with the community. The final schedule of virtual activities will be announced in late September and October.
“All we ask of the community is to give it a whirl,” said Mathis. “We’ve all found new ways to celebrate and come together during this time. We look forward to everyone joining us in different and innovative ways for the festival as well.”
Look for more information regarding the NC Whirligig Festival on their website, www.WhirligigFestivalNC.org or on social media.
NC Whirligig Festival
PO Box 2124
Wilson, NC 27894
Attention NC Whirligig Sponsors:
Sponsorship opportunities for the 2020 NC Whirligig Festival will be listed on the Festival website on August 1st.
Michael McHarg- Sponsorship Coordinator
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