The pitter-patter of hundreds of tennis shoes tomorrow morning will herald the beginning of the ninth annual Mount Airy Fall Festival.
Eager children, accompanied by their parents, will gather at the town's municipal parking lot for the Fun Run, which has served as the festival's kickoff event since 1985.
This year's mile-long family walk-jog-stroll is sponsored by the Mount Airy Elementary School PTA, Mount Airy Middle PTSO and Twin Ridge Elementary School PTA.
The Fun Run, which begins at 9 a.m., will benefit Mount Airy's flood-relief effort for Alexandria, Mo. The route begins and ends at the town parking lot off Park Avenue.
Fun Run participants are asked to contribute a registration fee of $2 per person or $5 per family. The event is open to the community, and a limited number of Fun Run headbands will be distributed to participants. Registration begins at the town parking lot at 8 a.m.
The two-day festival takes place in the heart of Mount Airy's downtown business district, where North and South Main Street meet at the old train station. The thoroughfare will be closed for the celebration, which will feature more than 145 artisans and food vendors. Hours of the festival are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
"Mount Airy's the place to be," said Ben Gue, a local antique dealer who has chaired the planning committee for three years. He said this year's crafts people were required for the first time to send in photographs of their handiwork as a means of quality control.
The purpose of the festival is to bring the community and businesses, friends and families, together in Mount Airy for a fun-filled weekend.
"I'm glad it's getting bigger," Mr. Gue said of the growing number of activities and vendors in recent years. "I think what helps is that we're keeping more of the family atmosphere."
Visitors will have several attractions to enjoy, including a Best Dressed Pet Contest, sponsored by Southern States Cooperative of Mount Airy, at 10 a.m. tomorrow, and a Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by Christi's Restaurant, at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Entertainment both days will include performances by the Caballero Band, Sneaky Feelings Band and the Gospel group First Fruits.
Bill Knill, a local dairy and beef farmer, will again give festival visitors tours of the town with free hayrides.
The Mount Airy Area Jaycees' Baby Photo Contest, where visitors may cast penny "votes" for cute cherubs, also will be held both days. A $50 savings bond will go to the baby with the most votes. Proceeds from the contest will go to The Arc of Carroll County.
The Kiddie's Korner in the Farmers & Mechanics National Bank lower parking lot has been expanded this year, said Mr. Gue. Children's activities will include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, face painting, nine games, a space ball ride, and a "Moon Bounce." The Kiddie's Korner also will have a clown, a character artist and a baby-changing station.
Festival committee members will sell candy, pretzels, nachos, popcorn, and 1993 festival shirts in four colors at a booth near the children's amusement area. The T-shirts will cost $8.75 and sweat shirts will cost $15.50.
Oscar Baker will be grand marshal of the Fall Festival Parade, which begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Mr. Baker, who retired in 1979 as chief of the fire department of the former National Bureau of Standards, is being honored for his long record of community service. He's been an active member of the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company for 51 years.
The parade will begin at Mount Airy Elementary School on North Main Street and end at Calvary United Methodist Church on South Main Street. Mr. Gue said 40 entries will compete for trophies in the parade, which is expected to last about an hour.
A free shuttle bus for visitors is being sponsored by the Greater Mount Airy Business Association. Visitors may park at the Mount Airy Carnival Grounds on Twin Arch Road, and take buses to and from the municipal parking lot on Park Avenue. Carroll Transit System is providing the buses.
Festival proceeds will go to the town's Centennial Committee for Mount Airy's 100th Birthday Party in 1994. Several activities are being planned for the yearlong celebration, which will conclude with the 1994 Mount Airy Fall Festival Parade.
Joining Mr. Gue on the 1993 festival committee were Tina Grogg, Irene Hubert, Pat Kressig, Rick Lawson, Audrey Stapf and Susan Sullivan.