Celebrate collards at annual Ayden festival

The celebration of Pitt County's favorite leafy green vegetable will be held today through Saturday, Sept. 9 in Ayden.

The Ayden Collard Festival features carnival rides and vendors, a parade, live entertainment and lots of other family-friendly activities.

An annual highlight is the Collard Eating Contest, which will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at the West Avenue Stage. Winners are the male and female who eat the most collards in 30 minutes -- and keep them down long enough to collect the prize. There's a rumor that famous former collard-eating champion Mort Hurst has been training to come out of retirement and participate this year.

The Collard Festival Parade, which begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, will feature more than 100 entries including marching bands, floats, classic cars, modern cars, Shrine units, and live animals. The parade begins at Ayden Elementary and Ayden Middle schools , travels east on Third Street, turns north on West Avenue and west on Second Street before heading back to the elementary and middle schools.

Popular beach music group The Band of Oz will perform for a free street dance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.

For a complete schedule, visit the Ayden Collard Festival website.

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