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Wind fails to stop fun at Bassett Heritage Festival
Micro burst lifts tents causing ‘fairly minor’ injuries
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Above, crowds of people tour the vendors’ displays, try a climbing wall and take part in other activities at the Bassett Heritage Festival on Saturday. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A gust of wind Saturday didn’t stop the annual Bassett Heritage Festival, but it did cause what were believed to be minor injuries.

Around 4:08 p.m. Saturday, “what is believed to be a micro burst of wind came through and lifted up several tents near the main band/stage area” of the festival, said Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.

The blast “lifted the tents up a considerable distance into the air” before the tents fell back to the ground, Perry said.

Three people sustained “what are believed to be to fairly minor injuries,” he said. One person was taken to Memorial Hospital, and the other two declined additional treatment, the sheriff said.

Other than that incident, the festival was deemed a success.

Paul Kennedy, a co-organizer of the event, said the weather was perfect, other than the wind. “A good crowd turned out, and I thought the parade was really good,” he said.

The parade featured vehicles from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, fire trucks, cars and other units.

The C.B. Aycock Middle School drumline, flag corps and other performers from the Greensboro, N.C., school “were really good,” Kennedy said of the group that performed dances and twirling and, of course, played the drums.

“Overall, it was a good day,” Kennedy said of the event that is sponsored by the Stanleytown Ruritan Club.

The festival had been held along Fairystone Park Highway in Bassett in the past, but this year it moved to a grassy field across from the Bassett Fire Station.

A majority of the vendors were set up in the field, prompting different feedback from visitors.

Lawrence Sledge Jr. of Bassett said Saturday marked his fifth year attending the festival.

“I was hesitant when I first heard” about the change in location, he said. “It’s all right, I guess, but I’d rather walk on a hard surface than (on) dirt” because dirt can be uneven.

Kelly Via said she thought the new location was convenient in at least one aspect.

“There’s not as much crossing the road with kids” or any items purchased, said Via, who came to the event from her Bassett home with her son and other family members.

“Wish me luck,” Via’s son, Colby Willard, yelled from his place atop an electric rodeo bull that was a popular festival ride.

“Don’t let go,” an onlooker advised, as the bull started moving. Via stood on the sidelines and took photos while her son rode the bull.

Although Willard said he was unable to get a good ride in, the experience did help him realize that he does not want to pursue a rodeo career.

“No thanks, not in the rodeo,” he said, smiling.

Youngsters at the festival also had the option of stretching up a climbing wall, coming down a slide or jumping in the bungee run. There also were face-painting, jewelry making and other activities for youth.

Music from Troublesome Highway was heard in the background as visitors looked at the items vendors offered for sale.

The band’s selections were as broad as the wares available from booths. There were pillows, wood crafts, afghans, clothing, jewelry, home decor, fairy houses, shoes and food.

There also were several informational displays, such as Bassett Furniture’s Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture (EFEC) booth.

Steve Goard, a Bassett employee who helped man the booth, explained that the company recycles a number of items from employees, including plastic bottles, magazines and even foam.

Employees at Bassett’s other locations are doing the same thing to help protect the environment and reduce waste, Goard said.

Angie Dillon and her son, Thomas Dillon, were first-timers at the festival. They came from Ridgeway to Bassett with their friends, Kelly Whitlow and her son, Gavin.

“We were talking about doing something with the kids this weekend” and decided to visit the festival, Dillon said.

“We’ve always been to the Fieldale festival” and wanted to support the one in Bassett as well, she added.

Kennedy, meanwhile, said organizers would start working Monday on the 2014 festival.


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