HAMLET — Main Street was filled to the brim as the city celebrated the 31st annual Seaboard Festival on Saturday. The food, music and artwork showed just why this is the event of the year for Richmond County.
The Seaboard Festival offered many attractions to gain the interest of a variety of people, and it was the place to do some serious shopping for unique items. All around Main Street people could observe the very beginning of different works of art. There were quilters, sewers and potters there to show off the process of creating such individual pieces.
Phil Hewett, 64, set up his station to show how he creates the pottery that was put on display at the festival. Hewett is from Aberdeen but has worked in the Richmond County area for many years.
“I’ve been doing pottery for over 40 years,” Hewett said. “It used to be a full-time job, but now it has become a hobby for me.”
Hewett has been demonstrating at the Seaboard Festival since the mid-1990s.
“It is a great way to show people and kids how things are made and how much time goes into creating something,” Hewett said. “It is also nice if someone becomes more curious about it and ends up taking up pottery themselves.
The people agreed as a crowd gathered around to watch as Hewett gave a lump of clay shape right in front of them.
While Hewett created in front of a crow, Gene Ross, 69, showed off a finished masterpiece of which he was quite proud.
Ross had taken two years to create a 17-foot-long grill in the shape of an old train. He built the grill from scratch using a variety of pieces he had picked up from different places and antique stores. He has been bringing it to the festival for the past four years.
Ross is a local to the Hamlet area and worked for the railroad for 35 years, so the grill had his personal touch and experiences added to it. He looked on his creation with pride.
“I haven’t even cooked on it,” Ross said. “Don’t want to as of now. I make grills for a living, and I normally use them, but this one is too special.”
These homemade items are definitely a sight to see and can be expected every year at the Seaboard Festival, but there was one feature that was a new addition this year — the Amtrak Exhibit train.
The train is a museum that travels around the country to show people the history and future of America’s railroad. This is its first time stoppping in Hamlet.
Kimberly Woods, senior communications officer for Amtrak, said the exhibit is a must-see for rail fans.
“It is something to see for those interested in the history of the railroad,” Woods said. “We just did some renovations to it last year, so this is actually a debut for the updated exhibit.”
A line of adults and children alike made their way through the exhibit, looking at how trains have developed over the years.
Nick Sylvain, 9, found that the Amtrak exhibit was the best part of the day.
“I love trains, so it’s really cool,” Nick said. “Definitely my favorite part of today.”
And it was definitely one of the crown jewels at the festival as line of adults and children alike made their way through the exhibit, looking at how trains have developed over the years.
“This town has such a history with the railroad, so it is great that this was able finally make it here,” Woods said.