Spirit of JacksonvilleREAD ONLINE
McCrory readies for 28th MosquitofestOriginally Published May 12, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
McCRORY For the residents of McCrory, mosquitoes in May aren’t a reason to break out the citronella candles just yet. Mosquitoes are a reason to celebrate.
The 2013 event marks the 28th year for the community’s Mosquitofest, which will be held Wednesday through Saturday in downtown McCrory.
Betty Kate Thompson, McCrory Area Chamber of Commerce president and coordinator of Mosquitofest, said the festival started out as a joke.
“The mosquitoes were so terrible up here, and everyone thought we should celebrate mosquitoes because they’re so awful,” Thompson said.
This is Thompson’s third year to be head of the Mosquitofest Planning Committee.
“The festival has grown every year,” Thompson said. “It has lots of music, fun and activities for everyone.”
Thompson was a member of the Mosquitofest Planning Committee before becoming the woman in charge. She said the committee is important to the festival as a whole, and it takes everybody to make the celebration a reality.
“[My committee] never says no to anybody, and they are so willing to jump in and do what they can to help,” Thompson said.
Thompson said she grew up in McCrory, and Mosquitofest is something she looks forward to each year.
“This year, we’ve added another musician to [Mosquitofest],” Thompson said.
A local businessman and his wife wanted to sponsor a band to play on the first night of the festival, Thompson said.
JR and The All Star Band will kick off the festival with a concert on the Ross Ford Toyota Stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The carnival, which will also begin Wednesday, will feature rides, games and food stands, to which Thompson looks forward.
“I always look forward to the funnel cakes,” she said.
A gospel concert featuring choirs from local churches and local musicians will take place Thursday on the Ross Ford Toyota Main Stage.
Community involvement and giving back are the two main reasons Mosquitofest occurs every year, Thompson said.
This year, the members of McCrory Boot Camp, a group of women in the community who get together and work out every morning, were looking for a way to raise money for their town. The members of the group will participate in a “glow walk” to support local organizations.
“Everyone will have glow sticks and wear iridescent clothing,” Thompson said. “The money they raise will be taken and donated back to the youth program or another worthy organization in town.”
Local business is something Thompson said she wants to stress during Mosquitofest. The local-business campaign, called Locals Stay Local, will feature booths from local businesses and organizations.
“We’re really trying to promote local shopping,” Thompson said. “Local people do things locally to keep money [in McCrory].”
Mosquitofest is a way for locals to get together and appreciate the town they call home.
“It’s all about being able to give back to your community,” Thompson said. “You have to learn to not always be a taker. You have to always try to give back.”
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-399-3664 or email@example.com.