FUQUAY-VARINA — The town’s largest festival has continued to evolve over its six-year history, but Celebrate Fuquay-Varina’s roots trace back to the 1890s.
Fuquay-Varina’s first festivals were held at Mineral Spring Park to celebrate the fall harvest and Independence Day, said town spokeswoman Susan Weis. The goal was always to celebrate the town’s community spirit.
Over the past few decades, local groups held a Mother’s Day celebration at Falcon Park in May, the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association held an arts and crafts fair off Depot Street on Father’s Day, and the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce held its annual Run the Quay 5K race each summer, Weis said.
Six years ago, the town decided to work with these groups and combine the events into one major downtown festival.
“We’re a family-oriented town that places a lot of value on community,” Weis said. “It’s a modern-day, bigger version of those celebrations we used to have back in the 1890s.”
Three years ago, the town added a free concert to the festival lineup. This year’s concert will be Thursday and feature the LaGrange-based band Spare Change. The set list includes a wide range, from country to beach music to pop and classic rock.
The downtown association’s arts and crafts fair, Celebration of the Arts, is now in its 10th year and is part of Celebrate Fuquay-Varina.
The arts festival has come a long way, said Weis, who used to lead the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association and started the festival.
“We really thought there was an arts community here that needed a voice,” she said. “But, we struggled in that first year to get 25 artists. It was a struggle to get it off the ground.”
This year’s event will feature about 100 artists from all over the Southeast.
“It’s survived, and it’s thriving,” Weis said.