Weaver Heritage Day

A packed house was on hand during the Weaver Heritage Day at Elwell park in downtown Weaver Saturday. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

WEAVER — Major Hinds took a few short, unstable steps toward a metal pen filled with wily ferrets in Elwell Park on Saturday to see what all the fuss was about.

Then, like any typical 1-year-old, Hinds’ attention quickly turned elsewhere from the petting zoo and he tried to scurry off until his mother, Morgan Hinds, scooped him up.

“He loved the animals,” Morgan Hinds said as she held her son. “I think he mainly liked the pigs.”

Hinds and her son were just two of the hundreds of people who visited the park for Weaver’s annual Heritage Day Festival on Saturday. The festival is held to commemorate the city’s incorporation, 75 years ago this year.

Parking lots at the park and nearby churches were filled to capacity with cars as people enjoyed the live music, petting zoo, games, vendors and food at the park. The sun was scorching on Saturday afternoon, but large shade trees provided relief to visitors and vendors alike.

Hinds of Weaver said she comes to the festival every year.

“It looks like they have more vendors this year,” she said. “I like coming for the food trucks, and it’s good to come help the community and help support local business.”

The festival’s largest draw was its free petting zoo, organized by Dustbunnies and Dog Hair, an alpaca farm and animal sanctuary in Anniston. Along with alpacas and ferrets, the zoo boasted sheep, donkeys, pigs and lizards.

Matthew Nesbitt, owner of the animal sanctuary, said Saturday was his third time to hold the petting zoo at the festival. Nesbitt said he’d had little down time since the festival started that morning.

“I’ve got three helpers today and it’s almost enough,” Nesbitt said with a laugh.

Nesbitt said he likes to hold petting zoos at events like the festival to support the local community.

Nearby, Dennis Newman let his granddaughter Ann, 3, get a butterfly painted on her left cheek to match the one on her shirt. Newman said he doesn’t come to the festival every year, but has always enjoyed it.

“We’re not even from here, we’re from Saks,” Newman said. “We enjoy coming out.”

Ann seemed to be in agreement, nodding her head when asked if she liked her butterfly.

Along the walking trail at the park, Trish Harrell of Gadsden had a vendor booth set up for her jewelry business, Premier Designs. On a table in front of her under a large shade tree were various necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Harrell said she’d been running the business for 18 months and had been to several events, but not one like the festival on Saturday.

“This is great actually … there’s so many good vendors here drawing people out,” Harrell said. “Everybody has been so friendly … and I’ve got this lovely shade tree.”

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.