Ready for fun at Eno Fest

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 11:28 AM

The 34th Festival for the Eno will have one less day of music and activities, one less day of allowing visitors to get to know the Eno. But this year, festival organizers for the first time are adding a beer tent. 

Traditionally a three-day event scheduled around the Fourth of July, this year the Eno River Association decided to have a two-day affair. The intense heat during last year’s festival discouraged visitors from purchasing tickets at the gate the days of the festival, said Greg Bell, festival director for the association. Although advance sales of tickets were strong, the festival lost money last year and “we decided we just couldn’t do that again,” Bell said.
“We decided the best long-term strategy was to reduce the amount of risk,” he said. If this year’s festival does well, the association may go back to a three-day event, Bell said.
The 10-day weather forecast calls for a chance of showers Thursday, but mostly sunny  Saturday, with highs each day of the festival in the low to mid-80s.
In past years, and in recent surveys, festivalgoers asked about the absence of beer, Bell said. Because West Point on the Eno is a city park, beer has not been allowed. However, the association found that beer is allowed at McCown-Mangum House, and the association hired Sweet Water Brewing Co. of Atlanta to administer the beer tent this first year, he said. “People in Parks and Recreation were absolutely fabulous to help guide us through regulations, and were very supportive of the effort,” Bell said.
The house overlooks the Meadow Stage, making it “the ideal site for a beer garden,” he said.
West Point's McCown-Mangum house is one of the sites approved for alcohol use, according to an email from Cynthia Booth, public affairs specialist for Durham Parks and Recreation. Beer will be sold and consumed at the house site only, and age identification will be checked, Booth stated.
The festival will have numerous local, regional and national artists performing on the Meadow, Grove and River stages. Mipso, Bombadil, the Mountain Goats, and Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands (see related story) will be among the headliners. Festival veterans Chuck Davis and his African American Dance Ensemble, blues musician John Dee Holeman, the Gospel Jubilators, and the Cane Creek Cloggers also will perform.
More than 100 artists and artisans will have their work for sale in media ranging from painting to fabric to jewelry to musical instruments.
The Festival for the Eno is a trash-free event.
The annual festival raises money for the Eno River Association, which purchases land to help preserve the river and its watershed. Since 1966, the association has protected about 6,700 acres, according to its website. Recently, the association bought four acres with 500 feet of riverfront that will eventually become part of the Eno River State Park, Bell said.

WHAT: 34th Festival for the Eno
WHEN: Thursday (July 4) and July 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day
WHERE: West Point on the Eno park
ADMISSION: Advance tickets are $15 for one day and $25 for a two-day pass, Youth ages 13-17 are $10, and children under 12 are free. Tickets at the gate are $20 per day, or  $30 for a two-day pass. To purchase, call 919-620-9099, ext. 203 or visit