Wilson's whirligig park officially opens ahead of weekend festival

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 10:35 AM EDT
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A new one-of-a-kind park held it's grand opening Thursday and it features dozens of works from one of North Carolina's most famous folk artists.

Hundreds of people were in attendance for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, a place the city hopes will become an arts and education hub that will provide sorely needed recreation space.

Sitting on two acres of land, the park features more than 30 sculptures made by the world famous folk artist Vollis Simpson.

All of the pieces were moved to this property in the downtown area from their original location outside of the city.

The event was celebrated with live music, food trucks and a number of activities for kids, and drew crowds of people from as far away as New York.

Jeff Bell, the executive director of the park believes that in the future, this park will play a big role in bringing tourists to the city.

"It's very important not just for Wilson, but regionally and throughout the state, and a lot of people love these things from far away," he tells WITN. "They are incredible works of art."

Across the street from where this park is located, the building that will hold the Whirligig Museum is still under construction.

Bell said that the plan is to open the museum sometime around the middle of 2018 and that it will feature a number of smaller sculptures Simpson created during his life.

Thursday's event also served as the kickoff of the 13th annual Whirligig Festival in Wilson, that will take place this Saturday through Sunday, November 4 and 5.

The event will feature arts and crafts, live entertainment, more than 200 vendors, food and beverages, as well as kid-friendly attractions.

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If you love whirligigs, then you should head to downtown Wilson as the new Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum officials opens today.

The two-acre park on Goldsboro Street features more than 30 whirligigs by Simpson. One of the whirligigs is 32 feet long and weighs 13,500 pounds.

Simpson, who was a world-renowned artist, passed away in 2013.

The park and museum will house all of Simpson's iconic creations.

The grand opening will coincide with the annual North Carolina Whirligig Festival this coming Saturday and Sunday in downtown Wilson.