The 65th annual Swansboro Mullet Festival of North Carolina will take place this weekend, primarily on Oct. 12 and 13.

For the past two years the event has been co-hosted by the Swansboro Festivals Committee and the town of Swansboro Parks and Recreation Department. Although the festival still relies on volunteers, the department has absorbed most of the operation.

Inside today’s Tideland News is a special section on the weekend event. Please make sure to check that out once you have finished reading this article!

Folks planning to attend the Mullet Festival should be aware of a couple of things.

First of all, there is an event planned for Friday evening, “The Blessing of the Fleet.”

“The Blessing of the Fleet is back,” said Robby Fellows recreation programs supervisor with the town.

The event, introduced a few years ago, was skipped in last year’s festival, as it had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence. It will return on Friday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 p.m., in the White Oak River at Casper’s Marina.

“Any and all boat owners are welcome to participate,” Fellows said. “A wreath will be dropped in memoriam of boat owners who have passed.”

This year, there will be Mullet Festival fireworks.

As a result of the town’s 2019 July 4th fireworks vendor backing out of an agreement for July 4th town commissioners agreed to set aide the funds available for a fireworks show at the 2019 Mullet Festival.

The pyrotechnics will go off on Saturday around 7 p.m.

Also, this year’s Mullet Festival Parade, which begins near McDonald’s on N.C. 24 and travels east to Swansboro First Baptist Church, will have a special entry.

“We are excited to host the 65th annual Mullet Parade, which will include participation by the 2nd Marine Division Band,” Deb Pylypiw, a member of the committee, states on the committee’s website.

It has been a number of years since the USMC marching band has participated and they are always a popular attraction.

To accommodate the parade route, N.C. 24 will be closed to through traffic at 8:30 a.m. Parade participants are reminded to be checked in well before then.

The parade will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. A panel of judges will choose the top parade entries in a number of categories. Award announcements will be made from the Harry C. Pugliese Jr. Pavilion stage at Olde Towne Square at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Award categories include Best in Show, Best Performance, Best Animal/Mascot, Most Creative and Mayor’s Choice Award.

While most of Swansboro downtown streets, between the White Oak River and N.C. 24 out to Sabiston Drive, will be closed to vehicular traffic both Saturday and Sunday, parking is provided at Ward’s Farm on Old Hammock Road. A shuttle service will run from 8:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Shuttle pick up downtown is at the corner of Sabiston and Church streets.

Additionally, a handicap shuttle will be available from the corner of Sabiston and Church streets to the corner of Water and Church Streets.

Craft and food vendors will be open throughout downtown from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with some food vendors open later on Saturday.

Live music on the Pug Pavilion stage begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The Kids Area activities take place Saturday at the First Citizens Bank parking lot on Main Street from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Dinners, prepared by the Jacksonville Rotary Club, will be available for sale at the Mullet Fry on Front Street across from Olde Towne Square between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The popular Scrap Exchange Art Activities begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be open Saturday until 3:30 p.m. at the First Citizens parking lot.

The Mullet Toss competition gets underway Saturday at 1:15 p.m. at the Pug Pavilion. The next big contest of the day on Saturday will be a 5 p.m. at the Pug Pavilion, the Mullet Hair Contest.

For Sunday, craft and food vendors will be open throughout downtown from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Also on Sunday, The Kids Area Activities at First Citizens will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and mullet dinners will be on sale from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Throughout the weekend there will be displays, included a car and RV show at the corner of Main and Elm streets and boat tours will be offered by Lady Swan.

Contact information for the committee includes a telephone, (910) 326-2600, an email, swansborofestivalcommittee@yahoo.com, and a Facebook page: Swansboro Festivals.

Email Jimmy Williams at jimmy@tidelandnews.com.

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