The celebration of Pitt County's favorite leafy green vegetable will be held Thursday, Sept. 6-Saturday, Sept 9 in the Pitt County town of Ayden.

   The Ayden Collard Festival features carnival rides and vendors, a parade, live entertainment and lots of other family friendly activities.

   An annual highlight is the Collard Eating Contest, which will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at the West Avenue Stage. Winners are the male and female who eat the most collards in 30 minutes -- and keep them down long enough to collect the prize.

   The Collard Festival Parade, which begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, will feature more than 100 entries including marching bands, floats, classic cars, modern cars, Shrine units, and live animals.

   Popular beach music group The Embers will perform for a free street dance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.

   Here's a partial schedule. For more details, visit the Ayden Collard Festival website.

Thursday, Sept. 7

6 pm: Rides and vendors open on West Avenue, unlimited rides all night with the purchase of a $20 wristband

7 pm: 2018 Miss Ayden Pageant, West Avenue Stage

Purple the Clown free balloon art, Second Street

Friday, Sept. 8

6 pm:  Rides and vendors open on Second Street

7 p.m.: Shimmy Shakers Line Dancers in front of the West Avenue Stage

8 pm: Hip Pocket band, West Avenue Stage

Saturday, Sept. 9

9 am:  Arts & Crafts Vendors

            Rides and Food Vendors Open

            Horse Shoe Tournament Registration at Veteran's Park, Third Street

11 am: Ayden Collard Festival Parade

Noon: Carnival rides and food vendors open

2 pm: Collard Eating Contest, West Avenue Stage

8 pm: Band of Oz, West Avenue Stage

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Photo from the Ayden Collard Festival website