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A Long, Hot Hit Parade
The 2024 Croaker Festival & Parade
July 8, 2024

emps in the mid 90s didn’t keep the crowd from coming out for this year’s Croaker Festival. Many said it was the largest they’d seen in years – both in the crowd size and the number of parade participants.

Opening this year’s parade: the Color Guard.

This year’s lineup had a few new floats including the Ladies of Oriental and the Table Tennis Tootsies.

‘Betsy Ross’, of the Ladies of Oriental float, shows off her flag.

A few fire trucks tossed out frozen popsicles instead of candy. They were a big hit with the crowd, especially as the fire trucks appeared at the end of the line.

Marjorie Dufek shows off important parade fashion – the Croaker Hat.

The Festival itself had a new addition: the Mini Miss Minnow Pageant, for girls 4-6 years old. Seventeen signed up to compete in the category.

Mini Miss Minnow Winners:
• Most Photogenic: Parker Stevenson
• Spirit of CroakerFest: Celina Monk
• 3rd Runner Up: Brylee Whorton
• 2nd Runner Up: Tinley Hacker
• 1st Runner Up: Hillary Jones
• Mini Miss Minnow: Kyndell Caroon

Winners of this year’s pageants, clockwise from top: Miss Minnow Erin Forbes, Croaker Queen Nazri Williams, Mini Miss Minnow Kyndell Caroon.
Miss Minnow Winners:
• Most Photogenic: Willow Sinicrope
• Spirit of Croakerfest: Kaylee Hollowell
• 3rd Runner Up: Reagan Jordan
• 2nd Runner Up: Carleigh Lane
• 1st Runner Up: Adaley Bettis
• Miss Minnow: Erin Forbes

Mini Miss Minnows waiting backstage.
Croaker Queen Winners:
• Most Photogenic: Natalie Reed
• Spirit of Croakerfest: Abigail Cahoon
• 3rd Runner Up: Emerson Gaskins
• 2nd Runner Up: Catherine Lackey
• 1st Runner Up: Emma Spain
• Croaker Queen: Nazri Williams

Croaker Queen Nazri Williams. (Ben Casey photo)
The Croaker Festival parade happens every year as part of the Croaker Festival. It, and the festival, will return Friday and Saturday, July 4- 5, 2025.

Parade Master Paul Fairbank stands ready to release the Parade onto Broad Street.
Parade Grand Marshall Georgie Lee. Georgie is an Oriental native, and has her hair salon in the same building where her father, Red Lee, sold his famous 25 cent hamburgers.
Baking Contest Winners
1. Rebecca Spain
2. Kacie Sharp

1. Emi Chiriglio
2. Robin Lupton Kapp
3. Bobbi McKenney

1. Katie James
2. Cynthia Delamar
3. Mary Johnson

The Shriner Fire Brigade brought their ladder trucks and puppet friends with them to the parade.

Quick Breads:
1. Katie James
2. Greg & Nita Hendrick
3. Deb Boswell

1. Ruby Johnson
2. Katie James

Best Decorated Theme: Let Freedom Ring
1. Beth Burch
2. Ashley Mayo
3. Lorraine Johnson

Waving at the passing floats.
A young cyclist hands out seed packets for St. Thomas Episcopal Church. (Ben Casey photo)
Croaker Festival Parade Winners:
Best Dragon on a Boat: Mayor Sally Belangia
Best Catch: Pickett’s Charge
Most Exotic: St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Fun for Kids of All Ages: Lower Neuse Anglers Club
Best Themed Golf Cart: Centenarian Fay Bond
Spirit of Oriental: Dragon & Drummers
Biggest Books: Pamlico County Library
Spirit Award: Democratic Party
Grand Poohbah: Pamlico Community College
Most Enthusiastic: Ladies of Oriental
Best Use of Water Guns: Pamlico County Arts Council

Claudine Fields prepares a pre-parade breakfast for friends at her home along the parade route.
One kid enjoys their parade spoils while watching the show.
The Shriners brought out the bikes, trikes, and trucks this Croakerfest.
Better than candy. One fire truck threw frozen popsicles to the hot crowd.
A young girl watches from the roadside.
Saturday night fireworks through the Crepe Myrtles near Oriental Harbor Marina. (Paul Triulzi photo)
Jill Harris, walking with the Pamlico Arts Council, reaches into an empty candy bin. They had more parade than candy.
The float for the Democratic Party featured the parade’s theme: Let Freedom Ring.
Famliiar faces around town: Pat Stockwell with the Dragon Boat Crew, Jim Kellenberger on his John Deere, and Chris Mele handing out flags.
Getting a lift when you’re hot and tired, but still want to see the parade. (Ben Casey photo)
Aboard ‘Noah’s Ark’, the ladies of St. Thomas Episcopal laugh with a friend.
Fireworks view from the creeks. (Ben Casey photo)
Getting a lift in a rickshaw – the vehicle is brought out for the Lunar New Year Festival.
‘Craig Croaker’ rides for the Ham Radio Club.
A girl flings candy with all her might. The Croaker Band returns to the parade; the Table Tennis Tootsies are a new addition.
One youngster doesn’t seem happy about giving away candy.
Centenarian Fay Bond enjoys the parade as a participant.
Pointing out the best parts. A couple watches the parade from the shade of a Broad Street porch. (Ben Casey photo)
A large elephant’s head graced the front of the float for the Republican Party.
Members of the South Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department wave from the top of a vintage Fire Truck.
Oriental Police Officer Nic Blayney closes out the parade.
Saturday night’s fireworks. (Ben Casey photo)

Posted Monday July 8, 2024 by Allison DeWeese

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