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Embers to headline 2019 pumpkin festival

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A popular beach music band will be the highlight of the Friday night street dance from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 4 at the 48th annual Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.

The Embers, featuring Craig Woolard, have been largely credited for laying the groundwork for what’s known as “beach music” in the Carolinas, Virginia and North America’s Gulf Coast.

“We are very fortunate to have The Embers coming to Spring Hope. We set the bar higher last year with The Chairmen of the Board, and The Embers are the perfect band to follow last year with,” said Mark Cone, who is serving as this year’s festival entertainment chairman.

The Embers boast numerous albums and single releases that span decades including “Hold Back the Night,” “I Love Beach Music” and “Summertime’s Calling Me.” The band has been inducted into the South Carolina Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame. The group also is known as “North Carolina’s Official Ambassadors of Music.”

Joining The Embers in this year’s lineup is Russ James, who will perform on from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 5 on the Depot Deck.

James is originally from Wilmington and has been writing songs and performing for more than 30 years. He had a two-year run in the early ’80s with the Stillwater Country Trio but passed on a one-song deal in Nashville in 1983 to raise a family. In the summer of 2007, James released “Carolina Backroads,” a CD of 12 original songs on his own independent label, Shaky Legz Music. He is currently working on songs for his next album entitled “The Best Songs You Never Heard.”

The Nigel Experience, a party band that specializes in the soulful sounds of R&B, soul, Motown, classy party, funk, beach music and current hits, will provide another occasion to dance in the streets after the annual parade Saturday afternoon on the main stage.

The band is described as “an opportunity to have all of your senses tantalized and be ready for an experience that you will definitely remember!”