Workers put up tents for the Dogwood Festival Thursday.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -
The 32nd annual Dogwood Festival will draw a crowd to downtown Fayetteville beginning Friday evening. The event includes arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, a kids' area, live entertainment and amusement rides.
On Thursday, workers were raising tents in Festival Park and assembling amusement rides in the nearby parking lot behind the Hotel Prince Charles.
“The big pieces start [going into place] today, and then tomorrow we start loading in the food vendors and bam – festival time, five o’clock tomorrow. So we’re ready!” said the festival director Carrie King on Thursday.
In some recent years the Fayetteville Police Department has sent letters to known gang members in the area telling them they were banned from attending the festival. That action was based on concerns that gang members had threatened violence at the festival. This year there are no reports of any such threats.
"It’s my understanding that we haven't received anything this year, but we've set a tone over the past three years that we have a zero tolerance to bad behavior," King said.
Fayetteville Police Department spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce said he could not comment on whether similar letters were sent out again this year. He did say the police department will maintain a large presence at the festival. He also pointed out that police surveillance cameras recently installed in downtown would be in use during the festival this year.
King said she was confident the festival would again be a safe place this year. She said usually festival organizers work with police on a need-to-know basis, and she has not heard any concerns.
"I get paid to run an event, and they get paid to protect and serve. I'm staying in my lane of traffic, and they're staying in theirs. They keep me aware of what I need to know,” King explained. “We obviously support them in whatever they decide to do or not do.”
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>