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August 12, 2010

Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival celebrates the community’s roots

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Re-Print from Topsail Voice, August 11,2010. Click Here to view the original article.


Published: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:40 AM EDT

Festivals can be found all over nation, celebrating everything from apples to zoos but here in the greater Topsail area, many of our festivals reflect area history and traditions.

The Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival is no exception.

The festival, planned for this weekend, celebrates the proud tradition of commercial fishing and the village of Sneads Ferry.

First established in the 1700s as a fishing and farming community, Sneads Ferry’s working waterfront was, and still is today, vital to the community’s economy.

Until recently the community depended on the fishing industry which includes trawling, shrimping, clamming, crabbing as the key economic driver supporting families and other businesses in the area. The fishing industry is still and important part, but sadly a declining part, of the unique economy of the community.

In the past 50 years many coastal towns and villages have succumbed to the economic challenges posed by developments and rapid change, which in turn closed or, at best, reduced the commercial fishing industry to only small players in the economic picture.

Sneads Ferry has resisted these changes by remaining an unincorporated community and protecting as much as possible of its heritage and fishing traditions.

But in spite of these efforts, the community is still feeling the effects of its larger neighbors, Wilmington and Jacksonville. The nearby developments, increased restrictive regulations on the industry, and a declining economy are taking a toll on both the community and its fishing base.

The annual shrimp festival is one way the community, its residents and businesses continue to remember and promote the very traditions and industry that is such a vital part of the community’s history.

The longtime families of the area revere the histories and traditions of the fishing village while new arrivals to community learn to appreciate the community and its unique heritage.

This weekend residents and visitors will have the opportunity to remember, reflect and celebrate a unique community and the proud fishing tradition that make Sneads Ferry the very special community that it is.

The Shrimp Festival is a celebration of a coastal fishing community that continues to proudly remember its roots.

Till next time....
Tight lines!