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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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‘Come Home’ event draws record crowd
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: Friday night’s 10th annual Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas event drew a record crowd with unseasonable weather and numerous activities. Above, the Singing Panthers from Ferrum Elementary entertained onlookers with several Christmas selections.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

People did "Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas" last Friday night.

In fact, they set a new standard for attendance.

"The night was perfect," said Carolyn Johnson, one of the event's organizers. "The rain held off until almost 9 p.m. It was the largest attendance ever."

Johnson is with the Community Partnership for Revitalization (CPR). That group, along with Franklin County Parks and Recreation, organized the 10th annual Come Home event on Franklin Street in Rocky Mount.

Another CPR member, Barbara Chauncey, said the crowd was so large that the United Methodist Men sold out of their "world famous" chili before 8 p.m.

People also participated in the many activities. Chauncey said more than 100 kids made music on stage at The Franklin Center, leaving with stickers that said, "I jammed with Aspen Black on The Crooked Road." Horse & buggy units hauled more than 700 people during the night, she added, and large crowds all evening enjoyed the music and food, as well as Santa at Downtown Music and Gina's Place.

Organizer Jon Snead said it was the largest crowd he has seen at the festival .

"Santa was very popular with the kids," Snead said. "He gave out over 200 candy canes that evening."

Raise the Barre's dance performance attracted throngs of people all evening, Chauncey said, and Teresa Bernard of Studio Belle Visage said she saw many of her existing customers but also saw "new families and new faces" that she did not recognize and speculates they were from outside the community.

People also came to the farmers' market, Chauncey said, with a large crowd enjoying The Corey Hunley Band and Nashville recording artist Ashley Forrest.

"As always, the ice carving demonstration drew throngs of people intently watching Bo Bernard turn Hometown Ice blocks into pieces of art," she added.

"It was a special night with thousands of people out enjoying the festival and socializing with each other," said another CPR organizer, Donna Wray.

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