Every year at the beginning of May, something magical happens. A lot of magical things happen in Saxapahaw, but the beginning of May marks a summer filled with a weekly festival that packs this tiny village full of people looking to spend time in an idyllic environment full of friendly faces, local arts vendors, locally grown produce and of course, free live music. Collectively, these events are called Saturdays in Saxapahaw, due to the fact that they happen every Saturday from the beginning of May until the beginning of August… in Saxapahaw.
But the very first Saturday in Saxapahaw of the year has a special name— the Haw River Festival. The Haw River Festival aims to promote environmental stewardship, conservation, and the appreciation of the natural resources found in and around the Haw River. The festival serves as a platform to educate attendees about the river’s ecological significance and the need for its protection. This comes in a diverse range of activities, including the aforementioned live music, art exhibits, guided nature walks, hiking or kayaking excursions, all led by a parade of stunning puppetry from Saxapahaw’s very own Paperhand Puppet Intervention. The specific offerings can vary from week to week, providing visitors with a fresh and engaging experience each time.
Saturdays in Saxapahaw aren’t just frivolity… they’re an extension and an exhibition of who we are, and the values this community stands for. Friendship, community, creativity, artistry, activism, sustainable farming, environmental awareness, and supporting local businesses, among many other ideals. It’s about showing off literally the fruits of our labor, both collectively and individually. While many things about the Haw River Festival stay the same, it’s also a time to shake off the winter blahs, and show off to the world what we’ve done and who we’ve become in the year since.
Every year, it’s a signpost of our continued evolution as a village, from our humble roots as a mill and gas station somewhere off the state highway between Burlington and Chapel Hill, to its own thriving entity that survives through each of us pulling together while celebrating our individuality, and the skills that we contribute to this charming town. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you really have to experience to believe.
Oh, and one major milestone this year is the opening of the second, larger school building for The Hawbridge School, which in terms of Saturdays in Saxapahaw, provides a lot more paved parking opportunities, which is a pretty big deal if you’ve ever had to park in the big muddy field in previous years. Long story short, Saturdays in Saxapahaw are worth the wait. If you missed the Haw River Festival on May 6th, don’t worry… you’ve still got an entire summer to make it out here and share in the love of this incredible village. Hopefully, you’ll want to come more than once, and grab breakfast, brunch, lunch and/or dinner from the General Store.