By Maggie Cagney
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
“As Carrboro grows in population and its boundaries expand, its citizens need opportunities to enlarge their circle of acquaintances, as well as to feel part of the entire community.”
And for that, there is Carrboro Day.
The 17th annual celebration, which began in 1995, will be held Sunday, May 6, from 1 to 6 p.m., at the Carrboro Town Commons, beside the Town Hall. In case of rain, event activities and booths will relocate to the Carrboro Century Center.
“It’s the first Sunday in May, so you can set your watch by it,” says 60-year-old Catherine DeVine, who was chairwoman of Carrboro Day’s centennial event last year.
Carrboro day offers exciting activities for the whole family, some of which include: games and crafts; food; a variety of music and dancing, from the Latin American music of Saludos Company, to the high energy reggae tunes of Selah Dubb; poetry readings from local poets; and an opportunity to participate in a plant exchange with members of the Carrboro Community Garden Club.
“We have a musical festival and a film festival, but this one is very family oriented,” says Jackie Helvey, 57, long-time Carrboro booster. “If the parents bring their kids, they’ll have a blast, and the adults can also sit and listen to the music.”
Supporters claim Carrboro Day is unique to the town, a celebratory event that cannot be found in surrounding areas.
“Chapel Hill doesn’t have a location like Carrboro’s Town Hall,” says DeVine. “This event, unlike Apple Chill and Festifall, is remarkably easy for a handful of people to produce.”
Last year, the town combined Carrboro Day with Carrboro’s 100th birthday celebration.
“Last year, the fantastic centennial celebration, was my last one,” DeVine says. “Last year was different — it was bigger and better. This year it will return to the traditional Carrboro Day.”
Among traditional festivities found at last year’s event, attendees also had the opportunity to learn about Carrboro’s 100-year history.
Nevertheless, Carrboro Day is a historic day, packed with fun and games every year.
“The history is that the day came out of citizen interest,” says Carrboro Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell, 60. “It is a citizen-motivated festival that is very much family oriented.”
“There are a lot of moving parts that make it interesting and fun, and there is something for everyone — that was part of the planning, part of what makes Carrboro,” she continues.
And Helvey, who has been in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area for more than 30 years, says Carrboro Day is a special event that shows the community’s appreciation of a town she knows so well.
“The fact that [Carrboro] is small enough that if you see something the way you want it, there is the potential for change,” Helvey says.
“When you say something, the government listens — and most of the population is open to new ideas and not necessarily willing to stay with the status quo,” she says.
The event is put together by members of the community, from government officials to high school students.
In recent years, Carrboro High School’s football team has volunteered at the event, helping set up booths and participate in family games.
DeVine says Coach Jason Tudryn and the players help to make the event run more smoothly.
“Coach Tudryn is a real star, and the [players] are great with the kids,” she says. “And they are strong; they’ll do anything.”
It’s a day, as the Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided 17 years ago, to “offer Carrboro’s citizens a day to forget themselves, to reach out to others and to create a memory of renewal and fun that will be sustaining when difficult issues face them or the whole town.”
For the full event listing, visit http://carrboroday.org/
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