It all started in the spring of 1975, when Mrs. Lois Theuring wrote a letter to the editor of the Ayden-NewsLeader suggesting that Ayden have a festival. After considerable discussion, a committee was formed and a “festival” went into the planning stages. It was decided to let the citizens of Ayden vote on naming the festival. Six names were selected to choose from: Collard Festival; Cucumber Festival; Garden of Ayden-Almost Paradise; Harvest Festival; Progressive Ayden Day; and September Fun Festival.
Ballots were printed in the local newspaper and “Collard Festival” won by a large margin. Committees were formed and Saturday September 13, 1975, was chosen for Ayden’s first Collard Festival. On that day, Ayden was the scene of a large street dance; a parade witnessed by 6,000 people; amusement rides; and booths filled with many fun activities. “The Ayden Collard Festival”, which is now over 50 years old, is held the first week in September, starting Tuesday after Labor Day continuing through Saturday. The following events take place each year throughout the week with many new events added each year.