An estimated 884,000 North Carolina motorists are expected to hit the road during Memorial Day weekend, according to a report issued by American Automobile Association (AAA). That’s an increase of 2.2 percent from last year.
There are some events in the county expected to draw visitors, like the annual Ironman Memorial Race at the Rockingham Dragway. The event, which stretches from the 25th until the 28th, is expected to draw a large crowd over the course of the holiday weekend.
“We’ve booked rooms for the weekend already,” said Crystal Goodwin, Quality Inn and Suites employee. “When there’s an event at the dragstrip, we often see an increase in room reservations. We also get a lot of travelers on their way to the beach.”
In observance of Memorial Day, a veterans ceremony will be held at Veterans Memorial Park on Old River Road in Rockingham at 11 a.m. Former Major Donald Dawkins will be the guest speaker. Guests are asked to wear red, white or blue.
Other motorists will be traveling to events around the state.
The good news for travelers is that gas prices are down compared with the same time last year.
However, the start of Memorial Day begins the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers, with seven of the 10 most deadly days of the year occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Motorists of all ages are encouraged to use caution when driving.
“We expect to see an increase in traffic, and will be utilizing more speed detection checkpoints during this holiday weekend,” said NC Highway Patrol Sgt. Dale Defoe. “We have all been instructed to be diligent and to remove hazards from the road, such as impaired motorists and aggressive drivers.”
Defoe confirmed that motorists in North Carolina can expect to see an increase in license checkpoints this weekend. Motorists on the waterways will also be under increased scrutiny this weekend.
“The NC Wildlife Resources Commission will be continuing it’s ‘On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign’ in conjunction with the ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement),” said Defoe. “There will be checkpoints at boating areas, which does include the Pee Dee River.”
Special events are scheduled from the mountains to the beaches, and include:
• Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, May 25-27
• 19th Annual Aurora Fossil Festival in Aurora, May 25-27
• Food Lion Speed Street in the streets of uptown Charlotte, May 24-26
• 19th Annual Garden Jubilee Festival in Hendersonville, May 26
• Orange Street Arts Festival in Wilmington, May 26
• Battle of the Barbecue on Lake Gaston in Littleton, May 26
• Memorial Party in Old Fort on Sky Island, May 26
• 12th Annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville, May 25-27
• Wheels Through Time Memorial Day Celebration in Maggie Valley, May 25-27
• Carteret County Arts and Crafts Coalition Spring Show in Beaufort, May 26-27
• New River Celtic Festival in Grassy Creek, May 27
• Outer Banks Music Festival in Corolla, May 27-28
• “Hunger Games” Fan Tours in Brevard, May 27
• Fresh Music Festival in Greensboro, May 27
• Memorial Day Observance on the Battleship in Wilmington, May 28
For details on these events and more, visit www.visitnc.com.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.