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After the July announcement that the 2020 North Carolina Whirligig Festival will be going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, festival volunteers immediately began brainstorming all sorts of possibilities for a virtual festival.
Now plans are in place, and it’s time to register for several events and contests.
“We are so excited to bring something to the community that folks can look forward to,” said Theresa Mathis, festival director. “We all need something to lift our spirits.”
Festival planners have created Whirligig Week, Nov. 2-6, which will be full of interactive online activities each day. Followed by “Whirligig Weekend,” which is Nov. 7-8, the original dates of this year’s festival. The main focus will be contests that both friends and families can enjoy together.
Whirligig Week will have a different theme and contest each day. Participants will be able to register for all the contests on the festival website, www.WhirligigFestivalNC.org, in early October. Each contest will have a variety of prizes. Participants will have the month of October to complete the contests. The deadline to submit proof or contest solutions will be during Whirligig Week. Winners will be announced during Whirligig Weekend. Festival fans are encouraged to look for announcements on both social media and the website for details.
• Motivation Monday will be hosted by Wilson Arts, formerly the Arts Council of Wilson. Participants can enter a chalk art contest, a Tik Tok challenge and coloring page contest for kids in elementary school or younger.
• Traveling Tuesday will get everyone out of the house. Participants can download a whirligig bingo card and Wilson scavenger hunt information. Fans will need to don their masks as they complete “bingo” by submitting photographs of the items or locations. The scavenger hunt will have a variety of tasks and challenges that will take participants all over town.
• Whirligig Wednesday will focus on the whirligigs themselves. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is hosting a trivia contest. Whirligig enthusiasts will need to download the trivia form and then visit the park to search for the answers. In addition, the park will host a video tour and share some unusual information about the gigs.
• Throwback Thursday is a common theme on social media. The festival will be adopting the idea hoping Wilsonians will share photos from the past. Photographs from previous festivals, fun family photos from days gone by, such as a 1970s prom pictures or old photos of Wilson. The photos will be judged and cannot be images from the internet.
• Foodie Friday will feature a festival-themed cooking contest. Chef-wannabes are encouraged to create a common festival food in their own kitchen. Dishes can range from funnel cake to kettle corn, to meatier entrees such as turkey legs or chicken-on-a-stick. Inspired by the Netflix show “Nailed It,” home chefs will submit photos and a short video of their cooking attempt. Home chefs will have to incorporate their own friends and family as judges. The planning team will be watching for well-balanced scores. A taste test will be held for the finalists. Creativity will be a key factor in selecting the best chef.
• On Saturday, the Whirli-Run 5K and 10K will be held in a new location to ensure the community’s safety. Runners will be required to wear masks during check-in and then will have staggered start times. When the course is complete, runners will immediately depart as to avoid any overlap at the finish line. Instead of gathering on the lawn for race results, the finish times will be posted on the internet, and the winners will be announced via social media on Sunday. Pre-registration is required.
“We realize a virtual festival is not the same, but nothing this year has been the same,” Mathis said. “We hope the community will get involved. We believe Whirligig Week will open the doors for people to enjoy the whirligigs in a new way. We look forward to everyone joining us in these different and innovative activities. We all are looking for something to do with our friends and families, why not give it a whirl?” Look for more information regarding the N.C. Whirligig Festival at www.WhirligigFestivalNC.org or on social media.
Other planned events include a virtual marketplace and shop local activities. More details and events could be announced in coming weeks.