With large festivals in towns on either side of Dearing, the residents were feeling a little left out. So Judy Hobbs decided the time was right to do something about it.
Several months ago she proposed the idea of a festival to a few people around town and got a positive response. Since then a committee formed and the idea took off. Now the town is starting to get excited about the upcoming Dearing Spring Fling.
"I think it will help bring us closer as a community because we're going to be working together," Ms. Hobbs said. "I think it's going to make us take more pride in our city because it will bring outsiders in. And we want people to realize Dearing is a nice town."
Scheduled for May 7 of next year, pieces of the festival are beginning to come together. The festival committee, headed up by Ms. Hobbs, met recently to narrow its list of ideas and nail down a location for the day-long event.
The Spring Fling will be kicked off by a tractor parade through Dearing at 9 a.m. Also included in initial plans is a stage for kids' groups and local musicians to perform throughout the day. Late afternoon will feature a hamburger cook-off. A cookbook of Dearing resident's recipes will be on sale as well.
Crafters and food vendors will line the driveway around the old Dearing Elementary building. Organizers also discussed having additional booths on Adams Street and art displays in the old gym.
The festival committee -- which will meet monthly -- decided on prices for booths at their most recent meeting. Crafters in need of electrical hookups will pay $30 for a spot to sell their goods. Those not needing electricity will pay $20.
All of the proceeds from the festival will go toward restoration of the Dearing gym. But organizers think the Spring Fling will do much more good for the town just by getting the word out about Dearing.
"I think it will expose us to outside people that don't even know about Dearing or where Dearing is," said Mayor Ralph Menees. "I think that will put us on the map."
Organizers also hope to highlight the rich history surrounding the town during the festival. Old photographs of various locations in Dearing will be incorporated into a quilt made in honor of the inaugural festival.
Ms. Hobbs hopes holding an event of this magnitude in her hometown will not only provide a unifying force for the community but stake a claim for Dearing in the county and the surrounding area.
"I've always felt like Dearing has been left out," she said. "We're McDuffie County, but we've never been treated as McDuffie County. I really believe that. ... Hey we're a town; we want to be recognized."