Hundreds attended the 19th annual Warren Street Festival in Rocky Mount on Friday and Saturday.

Darlene Swain, who started the event in 2000 along with Eleanor Woods, and continues to oversee festivities, which include a business expo, an antique car show, a breakfast, a parade and lots of music and dance.

“It went really well,” Swain said of the festival. “When The Harvester let out, people came over, danced and had fun, too.”

The festival celebrates the African American History in Franklin County and aims to promote the advancement of the historic Warren Street Community.

Swain said visitors from as far away as Massachusetts attended the weekend events.

Chip Leavelle took first place overall in the Warren Street Car Show with a 2001 Corvette. The annual Macho Man Contest went to Isaiah Carter, with Eddie Simmons of Roanoke taking second place and Zade Reynolds, 5, taking third place.

Evelyn Marie Williamson Murray Wade was honored during the Breakfast on the Market, as the first African American female principal of an elementary school in the Henry County school system. Wade retired in 1995, with 35 years of service.

Entertainment was provided by gospel and rhythm and blues acts such as Adams Family, Cedrick Collins, Disciplelaires, JP Company, Kerosene Willie, M-Pact your Life Ministries, Ralph and Renee Payne, Smokestack Lightnin’ Blues Band and Spirits of Joy. Freddy Mac and David Mattox provided disc jockey services throughout the event as well.

Swain said she is grateful to the community for its support, including the Town of Rocky Mount and Franklin County Tourism Director David Rotenizer. Next year Warren Street will celebrate 20 years of the festival, and Phyllis Noslip and Swain hinted at new things in the works for next year, including special pre-festival activities and a ball.

“Get your dress ready and your man on your arm, cause we are going to have ball next year,” Swain said. “It will be like a senior prom.”

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