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‘Breaking ground’: Annual mixer launches Nederland Heritage Festival

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Heritage Festival kicked off with its annual mixer Tuesday.

NHF Executive Director Shannon Hemby said she was excited to get the festival up and running. The theme for the year is “breaking ground.” The cover of the booklet shows a construction worker, Nuff, digging with a shovel under a banner that reads “Nuff Square,” which will be the name of the parking lot, Hemby said.

“We have pageants on the first week in February,” she said.  “We have events coming up in about a week and a half. It’s a very busy time of year right now.”

The pageants crown contestants in categories from Miss Nederland (senior in high school) all the way down to Tiny Tot (1 year old).

Hemby said she was pleased to see the large turnout of nearly 50 people to kick off the festival.

“We have such a good, warm community,” she said. “We’re nonprofit and so are our food vendors. We’re giving them the platform to raise money for their nonprofit as well. The community comes out in droves and really supports everybody.

The NHF also crowned the new Mr. Nederland, Jimmy Harrison.

As per tradition, the former Mr. Nederland selected Harrison.

“It’s always great to name a new Mr. Nederland,” Hemby said. “We always keep a secret until (the mixer).”

Harrison said he was honored to receive the award.

“It’s a great group of men to a part of,” he said. “It’s great to even be thought of for it. I’m proud to represent this community.”

Harrison said his schedule gets busier with the kickoff of the festival.

“(The festival) means a lot of work,” he said. “I’m with a lot of organizations. I have to work booths. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun. There is a lot of good socializing   and a lot of good times with people in the community.”

The NHF also announced the program is dedicated to volunteer and Chairman for Transportation Pat Martin.

Passports for the festival are on sale at the NHF building located at 1523 Boston Ave.  for $50.