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Festival is going virtual? Yam right, it is


     Reluctantly recognizing that the risks of hosting the 35th annual North Carolina Yam Festival at Tabor City during a pandemic could far outweigh the rewards, directors last week approved a virtual alternative.

     Proposed by Festival President/Manager Rachel Todd, the festival will feature on-line activities in the spirit of up close and events currently impossible during the COVID-19 crisis, with a few carefully planned to be safe in person functions.

     Questions, anyone? Todd will host a Facebook Live question and answer session at 2 p.m. next Wednesday, July 29, on the NC Yam Festival Facebook page.

Virtually planned for real fun

     Virtual events on tap, all centered around the traditional fourth Saturday in October festival date, this year the 24th, include:

  • Tabors Got Talent Show. Chairperson, Erin Mincey. Contestants will submit their video as outlined in the rules, and videos will be judged. Videos will then be uploaded onto Facebook pages for everyone to enjoy. Certificates will be mailed to each winner. Cash prizes of $50 for adults and $25 for kids will be awarded.
  • Tiger Tater Yam Hat Decorating Contest. Chairperson Rachel Todd and Tiger Tater. This event will be to honor our beloved Mascot, Tiger Tater. Entrants will decorate a hat in a Yam Theme and submit the pictures by email, FB messenger, or text message. Images will be shared on Facebook in an album. The picture with the most “likes” will be chosen as the winner. Prize: $25 children, $50 adult.
  • Nightly entertainment. Every evening during the week of the festival, at the same time, a pre-recorded video will be released.
  • Craft video of a Yam Fest Themed craft. Chairperson: Rachel and Kadi Jo. This craft will be a mini version of our “Yam Man” signs. Craft will include Yam Man cut out, paint, and paint brush. These kits will be pre sold for $20.
  • Yam Good Recipes. Chairperson Rachel Todd. A month-long contest with daily recipe submissions with pictures. A sponsorship could provide for a gift card to a random winner who submits a recipe.
  • Art Show and Poetry Competition. Chairperson Kelly Jones. Like our typical art show, but with all submissions done online. Certificates will be mailed out. Cash prizes for first place winners. We will have a Yam Festival kids contest with the design being used next year on our festival schedule of events.

Live events

     Some things you just have to do in person, like:

  • “Do some Yam Good Shopping in Downtown Tabor City” This event will be Yam Festival Saturday. Local stores will be encouraged to set up a sidewalk sale and promote the day. This is a great way to help our community and still offer something on Saturday. Businesses might consider offering a discount to patrons wearing a Yam Fest T-shirt that day.
  • Downtown Decorating Contest. Residential and businesses alike will have a chance to show off their creativity with the decorating contest. This year’s theme will be announced on the Facebook live event at 2 p.m. on July 29.
  • Yam Festival sponsored Red Cross Blood Drive. Chairperson, Rachel Todd. Rachel Todd will work to secure a location to host a Blood Drive.