Downtown Mount Airy was bustling with activity Tuesday, as residents and visitors bounced from one event to another.
Just as a statesman might have done in each town in 1776, Taylor Osborne, portraying Major General Nathanael Greene, read the Declaration of Independence aloud in the morning.
The reading of the Constitution in the courtyard of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History has become a tradition in recent years, though Osborne offered a new face of the event. He was joined by a contingent of troops and others dressed in the clothing of the Colonial era.
One hundred or more people gathered in the courtyard, and Osborne was cheered as he read the Declaration around 10 a.m.
Those in attendance had nearly an hour after the reading to find a good vantage point along Main Street.
Folks cheered and children raced for candy as police cruisers, veterans groups, fire trucks, politicians and others made their way up Main Street.
The parade, which was sponsored by the Downtown Business Association, arrived downtown — from Veterans Memorial Park — at about 11:30 a.m. with Osborne, Gail Norman as Betsy Ross and a couple citizens and a few soldiers from 1776 leading the way.
Pockets filled with candy, visitors had another treat — and another Mount Airy tradition — in store for them.
Five years ago, Angela Shur, who owns Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies on Main Street, set out to raise money for charity doing what she does best — pies. Shortly after noon, the Fifth-Annual Pie-Eating Contest for Charity kicked off.
Prior to Tuesday’s event, Shur was already expecting to play host to her most successful pie-eating contest to date. For the first time, sponsors for the event, consisting of a number of local companies, covered the costs associated with the contest.
Thus, all of participants’ $5 entry fee for children and $10 entry fee for 13- to 17-year-olds and adults went directly to the Shepherd’s House, the local homeless shelter.
The smallest of children were required to eat only a “tiny turnover.” However, as kids grow, so do the requirements of the contest. Adults must eat an entire 9-inch pie, and all contestants had to eat their pie without using their hands.
Gift cards of up to $100 and trophies went to those who finished first and second in their respective age divisions.
Shur has said she sees the pie-eating contest grow every year, and Mary Boyles, executive director of the Shepherd’s House, said it seemed the trend had continued in 2017.
“We are over $15,000,” said Boyles at the event. “We know we raised more than last year.”
In 2016, the event raised about $10,000 for the shelter, which provided shelter to more than 250 people and served more than 17,000 meals in the same year.
Representatives of the Shepherd’s House also sold raffle tickets for a shopping spree and a gun package at the event.
Boyles said the money raised at the event will go a long way in helping her organization continue to serve its clients. However, such a celebration also helps on other fronts.
“Some of our clents are at a bad place in life, and this event helps them feel embraced by the community and involved in it,” said Boyles. “It also helps spread awareness — helps us share our stories throughout the community and beyond.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.