Category: RiverPark

Cooleemee Elementary Students Experience Cooleemee in the Past

A chilly morning at RiverPark set the scene for students from Cooleemee Elementary School to learn about 17th-century Indians, 18th-century life and the grist mill, and kids working in the textile mill in the 19th century.

John Chandler presented the children with a warm welcome and a layout of the morning’s journey.  Joey Shore led each group to each station and stop along the way.

Johnny Brown demonstrates how to grind corn using a pestle and concave rock

The Indian’s learning center was set up right by the South Yadkin, with the dam spilling water over its rocky edge.  Students saw handmade drills, bows and arrows, a deer antler shortened into a knife, and a grinding rock for grain.

After climbing the hill from the dam to a clearing, Sandra Ferrell taught the kids about growing corn and taking it to the gristmill. They each received a tiny canvas bag filled with cornmeal. Later, each student got a paper bag with either two apples or a bag of peanuts. Bartering took place, and each student ended up with one apple and some peanuts.

Sandra Ferrell shows pictures of the gristmill

Shore pulled a sassafras twig from the ground, pulled the bark back, and told the children he used to chew on the stalk when he was little. The stalk could also be boiled in water for sassafras tea, which was good for allergies.

When the students arrived at the 19th-century stop, they learned that children worked in the mill. Girls earned 55 cents, and boys earned $2.75 a week. Mama was there with her field hat and apron, and she promptly came around and collected all the money earned by each boy and girl. They all got to keep just a quarter.

Sandra Ferrell gave each student a small bag of cornmeal

All went to the company store, where they bought a pickle, cheese, crackers, and a peppermint stick.  They had to pay their last 25 cents.

Bartering apples for  peanuts

I asked some of the students:  Out of all the information you learned, what stands out the most?

  • Air”yana Braswell – “What they used to make houses and all the equipment they used.”
  • Jaxon Herbiest – “ How they made the clothing, weapons, and tools to catch fish.”
  • Jayke Neighbors – “Why do kids work? Why is it happening in the past? They shouldn’t be able to.  Kids need to learn and go to school.”
  • Max Hall. – “How to make tea out of plants.”

Ducks on Sale Now! – Don’t Miss the Great Bullhole Duck Race & Family Festival on August 5th 

What is small, yellow, and floats? If you said a rubber ducky floating down the South Yadkin River, you would be correct!

Hundreds of rubber ducks will take a plunge into the South Yadkin near the Cooleemee dam on Saturday, August 5th, at 1 p.m. sharp.

The first numbered duck to reach the finish line downriver will win its “owner” a cash prize of $300. The 2nd place winner will garner its ticket-buyer $200, and the 3rd place finisher will win $100. That’s something worth quacking about!

This year’s Great Bullhole Duck Race, which runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.,  marks the 13th anniversary of the RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls’s annual summer fundraiser.  Proceeds from the race support the ongoing operations of the park, aka The Bullhole, to ensure the park is clean and safe for visitors to enjoy. 

“RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls, “The Bullhole,” has become a beautiful destination for our local community and visitors throughout the region.  A place that gives you an aesthetically pleasing escape and the best of both mountain and coastal worlds combined,” said Paul Moore, director of Davie County Recreation & Parks and chair of the RiverPark Board. “Unlike many fundraisers, 100% of proceeds from this event go directly back to RiverPark.  The event is fun, interactive, and filled with anticipation.  If you have a single duck, a fire-quacker pack of ducks, or a flock of ducks in the race, you know exactly what excitement I’m talking about.  Purchase your ticket(s) today or at the event.  Bring your beach chairs, blankets, umbrellas, and duck tubes, and spend a fantabulous day with us at RiverPark!” 

Bullhole Duck Race at RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls - Race and Family Festival Poster with Yellow Duck

Come Out and Enjoy the Whole Day!

There will be fun games for the kids before and after the race, and music and dancing for all to enjoy. Food and sweets will be available for purchase. 

Adopt a Duck Today for Only $10


There’s only one way to win those cash prizes in the Duck Race, You have to buy a ticket. Single Duck tickets are $10 each, a “Firequacker” of five sells for $40, or you can purchase a “Flock” of fifteen for $100.

Buy Your Duck Tickets Today!


Tickets are available at the Davie County Chamber of Commerce, Cooleemee Town Hall, and Davie County Community Park. Duck tickets will also be sold until 12:45 pm at RiverPark.

The RiverPark board is grateful for the sponsors who are helping to make this event possible:  

Davie Discount Drug, GNC, Yadkin Path Montessori, Phil Car Automotive, Lori Schilkowski Realtor, Snow Biz, Bank of the Ozarks, Main Street Brokers, Tar Heel Landworks LLC, Mocksville TDA, The Fish Bowl, Emergency Music Services, Davie County Tourism, Ink It Promotions, O’Neal Lawncare, and Thos Smart & Co LLC.

RiverPark is located at the end of Erwin Temple Church Road (just ½ mile from Cooleemee off Hwy 801 & Needmore Road). For up-to-date information, follow RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls on Facebook

 If you love the Bullhole, show your support!

2022 Cooleemee Duck Race

The annual Duck Race was held on Saturday, August 6th, 2022. Attendance seemed to be down a bit compared to past years, but enough tickets were sold to fill up the tractor bucket.


The three winners were: Tom Comadoll first place, Zachary Baker bought the last ticket and won second place and third place was won by Tom Coleman.


There is some discussion about moving the Duck Race next year to July 4th weekend. No final plans have been made as of yet.


The weather was warm and as usual after the race was completed, a thunderstorm makes its presence. What a great way to take the edge off the high temperatures.

2021 RiverPark Duck Race

RiverPark’s annual Duck Race was held August 14, 2021.  It was hot, humid and the South Yadkin River was cold.  Those three things are a great combination for summer weather and having fun at the “Bull Hole.”  

Tiny babies were cuddled up to their mom in the shade sleeping away. Dog’s paws were cooled off in the trickling waters while some cooled off at the falls.

Kids naturally know how to do it for sure.  Some rode the rapids on an inner tube, and others used their bodies: some slid down the bedrock on their backs, stomachs or bottoms, but either way, it was fun.

This year in the spring the flooding waters changed the landscape again to the sandy beach area.  A steep embankment was formed to the edge of the water.  Most kids love it for they roll like a ball down the hill and do a quick wash off in the water.

Hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream and drinks were available at the shelter. One thousand ducks were sold and all proceeds go to maintain a clean, safe environment for all to come and enjoy.

Please contact me at cooleemeenews@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.