The town of Hampstead may be small but for the people who live here this town is almost like a big family. Hampstead might not be a booming metropolis, but through its history, it's held onto to one claim to fame - Hampstead is the seafood capital of the Carolinas. State Rep. Carolyn Justice said, "Really all that was in Hampstead was the old high school which is still here, it's empty now -- and the two fish houses. We believe we ship more fish out of Hampstead than any other community in North Carolina on the coast, so it's still a booming business for the fish shipping industry." Along with good fishing, the town has something else to be proud of, the Hampstead Village Gazebo. The simple structure has been the central focus of town for the past 20 years. "We have weddings here, we hold our memorial day here and veterans day. We have bands come here and have free concerts in the park so it's a great place for people to gather and come together for many different reasons," said Justice. The gazebo also becomes the heart of Hampstead's annual Spot Festival, and doubles as a war monument to honor veterans year round. Roland Howard's family has been a part of Hampstead for seven generations. He's spent years tracing his lineage and has written a book on the history of Hampstead. "Hampstead is special to me because, my dad, my grandfather, my great grandfather and my great, great grandfather were all born in this general area," said Howard. He says the biggest impact Hampstead has had in the past few years is growth. "Hampstead has grown considerably. A lot of good people live here now, but we are awfully crowded," said Howard. Justice said, "It's been good growth, it's just a great place to come and live." Howard said, "We still live in the finest place in the United States you could be." Even with growth, many of the residents WWAY spoke to say they would like Hampstead to keep its small town atmosphere.
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