The annual Ayden Collard Festival starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, with the opening of rides and amusements that will offer thrills into the night. Friday is wristband night. Purchase one for $20 and get unlimited rides. The rides open at noon on Sept. 11. Here are some more festival highlights:

Collard Festival Parade

The parade beings promptly at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, so come to Ayden early to get a good spot to view one of the largest parades held in the state. More than 100 entries typically march in the parade including bands, floats, classic cars, modern cars, Shrine units and live animals. (Cars must be a part of the Sept. 11 car show to be entered into the parade.) Participants will line up at Ayden Elementary School and Ayden Middle School no later than 9 a.m. Saturday. The route will begin at the schools, travel east on Third Street, turn north on West Avenue and west on Second Street back to the elementary and middle schools.

Collard Eating Contest

The contest begins at 2 p.m. on the West Avenue Stage. Bum’s Restaurant has supplied the collards for the contest over the last 40 years. The event will crown one male and one female as collard-eating champions. The first-place male and the first-place female will each receive $100.

The only rule: contestants must eat each pound of collards completely and anything may be added to them while eating them. Contestants will have 30 minutes to eat as many pounds as possible and will have to keep them down long enough to collect the prize.

A total of 16 contestants will be accepted for entry. So come early if you want some collards! Contestants must be at least 18 years of age. For more information contact Amanda Starling at 252-341-0015 or Emily Dunn at 252-714-4518.

Art show

The Collard Festival Art Show starts Friday, Sept. 3, and continues through Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Ayden Community Building, 548 Second St. The event is open to all artists and typically features hundreds of entries including painting, photography, textiles, jewelry, basketry, pottery, sculpture, mixed-media and more. Entries are judged in a dozen categories with youth and adult divisions. Call Faye Warren at 252-531-8138 or Larry Dendy at 252-341-0571 or email them at faye@thepiddler.com to enter or for more information. Like them on Facebook: Ayden Art Show. The show is open for viewing 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 3, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sept. 10; noon-6 p.m. on Sept. 11 and noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Dare Devil Dogs

The thrilling Dare Devil Dogs out of Charlotte are scheduled for three performance at Third and Pitt Streets: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The team of rescue dogs and their human companions will perform all kinds stunts, snagging flying discs from while leaping, twisting and turning in the air. Dog lovers especially will want to catch one of these performances.

Contact Bobby Burns at baburns@reflector.com and 329.9572.