Fossil Festival faces EXTINCTION — financial support needed!

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What do you mean? Isn’t the Fossil Festival free?!?  


By Genny Groome Upton

AURORA — Held annually since 1994, the Aurora Fossil Festival presented by the Aurora-Richland Township Chamber of Commerce, is indeed a FREE-admission event for the town’s people, the greater community, and the general public.  For the past 25 years, this festival has focused on the area’s amazing fossil history, filling a late May weekend with family-oriented activities, entertainment, and educational opportunities.

However this year, the much-anticipated event is facing the same fate as many of its fossils — EXTINCTION!  

Although it may come as a surprise, hosting any type of carnival event is an expensive venture.  From a festival’s planning to its successful accomplishment, a lot of time, work, and — yes, money! — is required. Aurora’s Fossil Festival — even though it is one of eastern NC’s smaller-scale events — cost the Chamber a jaw-dropping $42,000 last year alone.

Now, where did all that money go?  Here are a few examples of the most costly line items from the Aurora Fossil Festival’s 2017 budget:

  • Tents, table, chairs and golf carts: $6,000
  • Entertainment (professional, non-professional): $4,300
  • Fireworks: $3,500
  • Rides and bounce houses: $2,000
  • Miscellaneous (signs, ads, flyers, raffles, computers etc): $2,000

Additional expenses include the soft drink wagon, festival security, lawnmower pull, dance floor, trash collection, ice, t-shirts, caps, wristbands, etc.

As you can see, there are lots of “hidden costs” when providing a festival day for the community.  These costs are typically offset by various fundraising efforts.  This year, however, with Sponsorships and budget cut backs, things have just fallen quite short. For this reason, the Chamber of Commerce is asking the public to step in and help save this quarter-century old yearly tradition for the next generation.

How can you help?  Send your tax-deductible financial donations to Aurora Fossil Festival, PO Box 326, Aurora, NC 27806. Other ways you can support the Fossil Festival:

  • Buy and sport a Fossil Festival t-shirt.
  • Buy Raffle Tickets for a $500 Gift Card. $1 each, or 6 for $5.
  • Attend and hashtag photo to #AuroraFossilFest.
  • Visit often our Website at

With a little financial teamwork, we as a community can help ensure this local gem is off the endangered list, surviving through another time period to nurture and inspire fossil hunters young and old alike!  Happy 25th Anniversary, Aurora Fossil Festival!  Here’s to hoping you have many more!