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Flounder Fest Parade is On
Fireworks, parades, and community support
May 20, 2021

When the Croaker Festival was cancelled for 2021, stating: North Carolina’s current restrictions on mass gatherings make holding the festival economically unviable, several citizens thought that something still needed to happen to celebrate the July 4th weekend.

Collections were taken up for fireworks, tentative plans were made for a drive-by parade, and ‘FlounderFest’ was set for Friday July 2 & Saturday, July 3. (The name is both a nod to the cancelled festival – a Croaker is a fish – and a cheeky acknowledgement of how the 2021 celebration began.) Artist Laura Turgeon created a flounder drawing (above right).

Fireworks are set for Friday night, July 2 (the crew wasn’t available for Saturday) and will launch from the bridge.

And that drive-by parade? Thanks to the COVID gathering limits being lifted, the Flounder Festival parade is on for Saturday, July 3, starting at 10a. This year’s parade theme is “Finding Flounder”.

The FlounderFest parade follows the same route as past parades. Floats and folks line up on Ragan Road, striking out from there down Broad Street / Highway 55. The route continues down Hodges Street, along the waterfront, and finishes by Lou Mac Park.

Planning of the July celebrations usually begin soon after the last one has ended. That wasn’t the case this year. “Things are going well,” said Marsha Paplham, head of the Oriental Tourism Board and event organizer,” but ongoing funding and community help is still needed.”

Marsha is working to get the Marine Band and Color Guard for the parade. Food vendors are needed – Marsha says non-profits who would like to help fill that role should contact her. Music will be at the Tiki Bar Friday & Saturday nights.

“The Old Theater is getting involved by playing The Little Mermaid throughout the day,” said Marsha. “It’s a nice air conditioned place to escape the heat of the day.”

To register to participate in the Flounder Fest parade, click here to fill out this form.

If you’d like to donate to Flounder Fest, checks can be made out to “Spirit of Independence” and either sent to or dropped off at Marsha’s Cottage at 204 Wall Street, Oriental, NC 28571.

Questions about the 2021 Flounder Festival? Contact Marsha Paplham at 252-675-5142.

Posted Thursday May 20, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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