Ayden, North Carolina remains a charming and friendly small-town, while located in the midst of one of the fastest growing areas on the Eastern Seaboard. Situated only ten miles from the bustling city of Greenville, Ayden reaps the rewards of proximity to a major city, while keeping its own special atmosphere.
Ayden incorporated in 1891 and its main industry traditionally was agriculture. With the decline of NC’s agricultural economy and the rapid influx of high-tech industries, research firms, and manufacturing into the area, Ayden city planners followed suit with the rest of Pitt County in attracting numerous businesses into town. Today, Ayden is home to major employers such as Weyerhauser, Inc., a British firm named Phoenix Fabrications, Carolina Catfish, Inc. and Minges Bottling Group. Ayden’s newly built Worthington Industrial Park awaits new companies.
Pitt County exhibits increasing growth with each year. The 2004 Census estimate of 140,587 showed an increase of 28% since 1990. Census 2000 reported Ayden’s population as 4,622. Ideally located in the central portion of the Coastal Plains region, the Greenville Metropolitan Area serves as the main distribution hub east of Raleigh. Ayden manufacturers, only 30 minutes from Interstate 95, and having access to North Carolina’s excellent highway infrastructure, find easy transport for their goods. Two railroads and two airports lie just minutes away, and the deep-sea ports of Morehead City and Wilmington are within a 2-hour drive.
Ayden residents enjoy a four-season climate. Summer temperatures average in the eighties and winter temperatures in the forties. Winters bring scant snowfall, while summer rains keep the town pleasantly cool and green. Residents take advantage of the moderate southern climate and celebrate their town with events like Ayden Sundowns. Held the fourth Friday from April through the autumn months, vendors display sidewalk sales; fine food, and live music entertains the town.
Ayden’s chief celebration is the annual Collard Festival, held after Labor Day. Along with competitions for the best recipes for collards, a beauty pageant picks the Collard Queen and a parade honors her. This three-day festival draws people from all over Pitt County and Greenville. Ayden’s historic Downtown District holds a reputation for its marvelous architecture, which houses businesses and residents alike. The shady, tree-lined streets offer a step back to a quieter time, while shoppers visit the antique stores, retail stores and marvelous dining establishments.
Ayden and Pitt County students boast one of the finest educational systems for lower schools in North Carolina. Test results consistently rank higher than regional, state or national average. Within a forty-mile drive lie fourteen colleges for higher education.
Ayden, NC extends a friendly welcome to visitors and newcomers alike. This small Southern town will grow in the coming years, but residents intend for the atmosphere to stay the same.