Gold Hill Founders’ Day celebration offers old-timey fun for all

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 23, 2018

By Andie Foley

It was a moment that, when played for movie screen, might have had the rest of the world in a hush.

On the side of the street, young Bentley Morris stand with baseball cap upturned and in an extended hand, his challenge unvoiced.

From the window of his car, local Representative Harry Warren, R-77, spots the hat and accepts the challenge, arcing a spray of hard candies toward the target.

He may have missed on all three tries, but Morris won’t be complaining: he’s successfully raked in just a bit more bounty during Saturday’s 29th annual Gold Hill Founders’ Day parade.

The kind of momentary stall might have caused impatience in some crowds, but — as with all Gold Hill festivities — Saturday’s celebration brought with it the calm sense of yesteryear. Residents and neighbors alike each slowed down to enjoy the day’s free-to-attend fun.

Festivities started at 9 a.m. with arts, crafts, gold panning and authentic historical displays, called heritage living displays. They continued until 6 p.m., with vendor and food booths and bluegrass music from bands Strings of Victory, Grass Strings, Jean Luc Leroux, Gold Line Bluegrass, The Gospel Plowboys and SASAFRAS.

While moms and dads enjoyed displays from the olden days — hit and miss engines and craftsmen and women at work, youngsters scoured the ground for “gold” nuggets, hidden throughout the park and redeemable for free treats and trinkets.

Then came the parade, opened by Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten and filled with floats armed and ready with candy for waiting and expectant parade watchers.

Particularly popular floats were Reed Gold Mine, throwing plastic gold necklaces; Cooper’s Australian Shepherds; and Forbidden Forest Horror Trail, with its hearses and ambulance and fleet of “undead” nurses.

Also among the parade, and later re-enacting by the barn, were members of the 28th and 30th North Carolina Troops.

The group were dressed in items authentic to the Civil War, according to member Stephen Wolff: jean cloth and eight-layered dresses with hoop skirts.

Husband and wife Brad and Shannon Long said their time spent re-enacting had become a great means of connecting with their 9-year-old daughter. During events, there were no electronics or present-day distractions, helping the family to authentically connect.

A lot like that calm reprieve that encompasses the Rowan County treasure of Gold Hill.

“There’s a lot of children, families coming up and asking us questions,” said re-enactor Ashley Sweet. “That’s my favorite: talking to the kids and their families.”