Fayetteville, N.C. — There is something to enjoy for the young and the young-at-heart this weekend at the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.
For 8-year-old Khloe Mechanick, the inflatables are a draw.
"You get to slide on it. and you can put water on it and do it in the summer," she said.
Khloe was taking a test run Friday afternoon on a big slide, one of about a dozen inflatables that will welcome Dogwood Festival visitors.
Organizers were expecting about 200,000 people to come through the gates at Festival Park before the weekend is out. The Dogwood Festival begins Friday with the "Bloom & Boom" party, followed by a concert by the Marshall Tucker Band and a fireworks display. On Saturday, country music star John Michael Montgomery is the headliner. Throughout the weekend, crafts, games, rides and musical performances lure visitors to the free event.
"They're good, family crowds," said Karista Mechanick. "It's a great time for the whole family to come out and enjoy. There's plenty of things for the adults right down to the children. It's just a good family-oriented place to be."
Before the fund and game, there was food Friday afternoon. The Fayetteville Crime Stoppers Bar-B-Que is the oldest sanctioned event at the festival. There $6 Bar-B-Que plates raise the money to pay for tips to get crooks of the streets.
"The Bar-B Que is one of our biggest fundraisers. For many years it was the only fundraiser we did," said Dunan Hubbard. Crime Stoppers expected to serve 3,000 of those meals.
There will be plenty of food on the midway, too, along with games and rides that make the Dogwood Festival one of the most popular events on the family calendar.
"We do have a reputation in the industry and in the state of being a quality event," said Carrie King, festival executive director.