PEMBROKE — Whether it was the draw of barbecue, music, shopping for jewelry or even an interest in unusual reptiles, Cruisin in Pembroke brought together hundreds of people on a sun-splashed Saturday that was befitting of early spring.
Colorful tents lined Main Street as vendors sold T-shirts, jewelry, art and other items they had crafted. Food vendors catered to a variety of tastes, which was evidenced by lines at the collard sandwich booth that was across from a barbecue vendor.
Kelly Taylor was standing in a line about 10 customers deep for a taste of Day Day’s Barbecue of Marietta.
“I’m here for the turkey legs. I love the smoked turkey legs,” Taylor said. “My mom likes the barbecue ribs.”
A new fan of the food, Taylor has only had Day Day’s once before and that was last week at the powwow in Pembroke. She drove the 60 miles from Darlington, S.C., for another taste of smoked turkey.
“It’s worth the wait,” Taylor said.
Definitely not on anyone’s menu were the exhibits at Big Smiley’s Reptiles. Dakota Goins, who works with the exhibit, said it is always a big draw.
“Most people are afraid of snakes but not everybody gets to encounter them every day,” Goins said. “We have a variety of snakes not native to North Carolina.”
Included in the collection was a Burmese python, a native of southeast Asia, and a Western Diamondback rattlesnake ,native to the western United States.
“It’s like seeing a hot car, you say, ‘wow that’s a nice car.’ You don’t get to see it every day.” Goins said. “People see snakes and they say, ‘Let’s go check it out.”
Even knowing that they wouldn’t be allowed to handle a venomous snake, often the parents aren’t as brave as their children.
“Adults will look at it and say, ‘Don’t touch that,’ but the kids want to hold them,” he said.
Under the watchful eye of Goins, Stephen Shepard encouraged his daughter Amethyst, 5, to hold the python.
“I brought her here a couple of times before. We came when she was 2; we came when she was 3. She petted the alligators and she liked that,” Shepard said. “All week long she’s been talking about coming here and she wanted to see the snakes and she wanted to pet the animals. She’s an animal lover. She’s not scared of any of them — not gators or anything.”
For the arts enthusiasts, there were artists on site with their wares. Among them was Jordan McGirt, who recently returned to the festival scene after a break.
“I do a lot of festivals. Any time something is set up I try to go — just try to go and talk to people,” McGirt said.
Creating pieces is a pull between painting what he finds important, he said.
McGirt explained that one of his paintings was designed to be educational but also to sell. It is an American Indian medicine wheel, which has four colors, each with an animal, and it represents not only the four directions, but four races of people — black, white, Indian and Asian.
“That’s a real popular symbol you see. The Lumbee tribe uses the medicine wheel for their logo,” McGirt said.
If art, food, or reptiles didn’t appeal to festival-goers, Yonnah Dawn Chavis, a Lumbee entrepreneur, had what she calls “Cares for your ails.”
Her play on words is for her line of oils, scents, and body scrubs she launched nearly a year ago as Ancestry Care Apothecary. The products are based on recipes she got from her grandmother, the late Mary Lou Lowery, who taught her that caring was important when making the herbal oils and scrubs. Much of what she uses — olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, honey, lavender, lemon — can be found at a grocery store. In addition to what she learned from her grandmother, Chavis said she spent time at Navajo reservation, where she really learned to embrace her heritage.
One of her products is called “Lumbee Elixir,” which, she said, is made with honey, peppermint, lemons and love. It can be mixed with water or with an alcoholic beverage to soothe what is ailing someone, she said.
Her product line includes hair tonic, lavender facial scrub, spray for bathroom odor, foot scrub, cleansing oil, facial cleaning oil, skin salve, and coffee body scrub.
“I’m very happy with what I do,” Chavis said. “I feel very blessed.”
The festival is sponsored by the Pembroke Area Chamber of Commerce, the town of Pembroke, Lumbee Regional Development Association, The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.