By MARINA WATERS
Now that the calendar has switched over to July, the days are getting longer, the temperature is rising — and the expected crowd at Jonesborough Days is only getting bigger.
The Town of Jonesborough will celebrate its 49th annual festival starting Thursday, July 4, through Saturday, July 6. And though Town Event Coordinator Melinda Copp said the festival historically brings in thousands of visitors, this year is projected to bring even more.
“We typically see crowds of about 25,000 to 30,000 over the three-day weekend,” Copp said. “Honestly we’re expecting that many and maybe even more. A lot of it depends on the weather too so you just never know, but even years when we have had bad weather or rain, we still typically have a really good crowd, especially for the fireworks and the parade and the music.”
This year’s festival will feature a slew of activities such as the Fourth of July parade, a watermelon social, a Dog Days of Summer Costume Contest, kids activities, a Moon Pie eating contest and fireworks to top it all off.
As for the music, Copp said the festival will host The Breakfast Club, an ‘80s tribute band, and The Beach Nite Band, well known for their Carolina Beach Music.
“We found about three or four years ago that the tribute bands were good during Jonesborough Days because everyone knows the music and it’s just really fun to have those classic tunes,” Copp said. “So in the past few years we’ve had a Tom Petty tribute band, a Rolling Stones tribute band, the Johnny Cash tribute, so we thought it’d be kind of fun to do a sort of ‘80s theme this year.”
To stick with the ‘80s theme, the festival’s music will also include music videos on the big stage and a deejay to keep the party going.
“One of the kind of exciting things we’re doing that’s a little different is Saturday night, the last night, we’re having an ‘80s party on the main stage,” Copp said. “We’re going to be doing a really fun ‘80s DJ mix party and we’re actually going to have a digital background on the stage so we’ll be able to play a lot of music videos on the stage.
“We have DJ Robbie Britton who’s really interactive and gets the audience involved. We’re going to have a really fun evening kind of getting it set up for The Breakfast Club to go on later that night.”
With new traditions and throwback music, Jonesborough Days is about the community, Copp said. And nothing supports the feeling of community more than reconnecting with loved ones and looking back at the last 49 years of the festival.
“It’s kind of just the community’s festival and everyone just remembers Jonesborough Days from when they were little, people who are 40, 50 years old now,” Copp said. “They remember coming to Jonesborough for Jonesborough Days when they were a kid.
“In a way, Jonesborough Days is really kind of a family reunion because we have so many people that are from out of town that used to live here and they all talk about how they try to come back for Jonesborough Days. I think it’s a good time to come back, visit the area, visit family and reconnect with the community they grew up in.”