5/9/2014 9:49:00 AM Annual Founders' Day May 16-17 New venue, more music, more fun
by Kristin Kubly associate editor
SUMMERFIELD - The sound of marching bands and excited screams from carnival rides, the smell of popcorn and hot dogs and the sight of decorated floats, proud veterans and smiling families. These sensations can mean only one thing: Summerfield is once again ready to celebrate Founders' Day in a big way.
Started in 1997, Founders' Day is an annual celebration of the pioneers who established the town over 200 years ago, as well as more recent residents who worked to incorporate the town in 1996.
Summerfield's motto is "Respectful of the past, focused on the future." That reverence for bygone days mixed with anticipation for new opportunities will be on display during the Founders' Day festivities, May 16 and 17.
"It's really about building community in spite of the challenges facing Summerfield, with U.S. 220 being widened and Interstate 73 coming through," says Mayor Tim Sessoms. "These issues have the potential to fragment the town, but events like Founders' Day are great to bring people together."
Town Manager Scott Whitaker agrees: "While respecting that past, the town is looking ahead to improve its fun family events to ultimately offer citizens more quality-of-life value. The change of venue and resulting planning demonstrate the flexibility that will serve the event well amid the changing dynamics of a growing town."
This year, the Founders' Day committee has made some changes to the event. The Saturday morning parade will now travel north, rather than south, on Summerfield Road from Oak Street to Centerfield Road.
Due to the construction at Summerfield Fire Station #9, the rest of the festivities will relocate to Summerfield Athletic Park on U.S. 220.
"Moving the event is a great opportunity to expand and let people come see our beautiful athletic park," explains Sessoms. "We will also be extending the hours Saturday night, with live music, rides and entertainment continuing until 8 p.m."
"The athletic park will offer a cohesive site with great lighting, additional restrooms, close handicap parking, and extended Saturday evening hours with more musical entertainment," adds Whitaker.
Friday night (May 16):
Founders' Day will kick off at 6 p.m. on May 16, at the Summerfield Athletic Park on U.S. 220, and run until 10 p.m., with food, rides, and games. Ride tickets can be purchased individually, or guests can buy unlimited ride wristbands at $10 for either day or $15 for both Friday and Saturday.
Northern Guilford High School's award-winning orchestra, concert band, and wind, jazz, and vocal ensembles will entertain guests throughout the evening on Friday. Ed Kimbrough, the school's music director, says, "It will be an old-fashioned band concert but with a more popular style of music."
Saturday (May 17) parade:
Arrive early on Saturday morning to claim your spot on Summerfield Road for the parade, which begins at 10 a.m.
One newcomer this year is Bricks 4 Kidz, which will bring a Lego man and feature kids from their camps. Children will also enjoy marching Disney characters, courtesy of Characters for Hire. Of course, perennial favorites will be back, including decorated floats, Northern High's marching band, trucks and tractors, and the ever-popular Oasis Shriners' Nascarts.
Two esteemed public servants will be honored as grand marshals of the parade this year.
"We are excited that Howard Coble and Linda Shaw have agreed to serve as grand marshals," says Cheryl Gore, the town's events coordinator and assistant to the town manager. Howard Coble, U.S. Representative for the 6th Congressional District since 1985, will retire at the end of this term. Linda Shaw, county commissioner representing District 3 since 1998, will also retire at the end of her term this year.
Sessoms wholeheartedly agrees with the choice of Coble and Shaw as grand marshals.
"They have done a phenomenal job, and with them leaving office, it's a great time to show our appreciation for all they have done," the mayor says. "They are also good friends, and this is Summerfield's way to let them know how special they are to us."
After the parade, the event will continue at Summerfield Athletic Park on U.S. 220.
"People will need to leave the area after the parade and head to the designated parking lots," Founders' Day Committee member Don Wendelken explains. "It will be a smooth operation, but patience will be important this year due to the change in location."
Visitors can park at three different lots: Laughlin Professional Development Center, 7911 Summerfield Rd.; Summerfield First Baptist Church, 2300 Scalesville Rd.; and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 2334 Scalesville Rd. Four shuttle buses will operate continuously to transport guests to the festivities.
Handicapped-accessible parking will be available at the front entrance of the athletic park. Parking for the parade will remain along Summerfield Road.
Summerﬁeld Athletic Park events:
Summerfield Athletic Park will be alive with activity after the parade. Families will enjoy the action of carnival rides and games, an inflatable bounce house, a mechanical bull and rock-climbing wall. Summerfield Recreation Association will sponsor a Pitch, Hit and Run event for kids on one of the baseball fields.
Other fun activities for the whole family include the history tent, a face painter, and a balloon artist. Animals will be abundant with Hogway Speedway Pig Racing, camel and pony rides, and a petting zoo.
A highlight of the day will be Captain Jim the Magician. A Greensboro native, "Captain" James Madison Light III turned misfortune into a new career when he became a peg-leg pirate magician after losing his leg in a motorcycle accident. Captain Jim will entertain the crowd, along with his son, Skyler, an accomplished stilt walker and juggler.
Throughout the day, a wide range of stage acts will perform, beginning at 11:15 a.m. and running until 8 p.m.
"We worked hard to get good groups in this year," says Sessoms. "We tried to provide variety and have something for everyone."
After the opening VFW flag ceremony and national anthem, the Southern Country Cloggers will kick things off, followed by Back Porch Orchestra, a Greensboro-based band that plays a mixture of folk, country, bluegrass and rock.
In the afternoon, don't miss the Northern Middle School Pep Band. Later, the Greensboro Tarheel Chorus, an a cappella barbershop group, will bring their unique harmonies to the stage. Finally, country and southern rock fans will enjoy Darkwater Redemption and Jordan Covington and the Holy Smoke Band, two high-energy groups that will finish out the evening.
Don't miss the history tent, which will showcase Summerfield's past. Linda Southard, coordinator of the history tent, has worked hard to ensure a variety of interesting and educational exhibits and demonstrations.
A new exhibitor is Tim Key, a Summerfield resident who uses a metal detector to search around people's homes for relics, letting the homeowners keep what he finds. He recently investigated Southard's 1850s era property, discovering a confederate coin and a doorknob that matches those in her home. He will bring a display of relics he has found from around the area.
Another new group is Old Photo Specialists from Greensboro, owned by Bill and Ann Heroy, also Summerfield residents. Specializing in restoring old photographs, they will be exhibiting photos from Summerfield's past and discussing their restoration techniques.
Summerfield's educational history will be highlighted as well.
"I am so excited about the Laughlin School having a display," says Southard. Laughlin School was built in the 1920s, and served as Summerfield's African-American school during segregation. After integration, it became a K-2 elementary and now houses a high-tech teacher training center.
Other groups with displays in the history tent include several veterans' chapters, the Daughters of the American Revolution, a railroad historian, the Summerfield Fire Department, the Summerfield Grange, and the Summerfield Garden Club. Some exhibitors will have items for sale, including the town's history committee, which will be selling T-shirts at a bargain price.
"With so many exhibitors, visitors will get a chance to see different sides of history," exclaims Southard. "I am most excited about all the knowledgeable people willing to come and share the parts of history they are most interested in."
Thanks to the volunteers:
Whitaker acknowledges putting an event like this together takes a village.
"The Founders' Day Committee has been a small but dedicated group, and many are sacrificing personal time to make it a success," he says. "Efforts and resources from staff, other supporting committees, our fire department, county sheriff's department and Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and sponsors are all important."
Don't miss it!:
"We will be offering more activities, and it will extend later than it ever has," Sessoms says. "So please come and enjoy both days. It should be a great time!"
Want to go? Summerfield Founders' Day, May 16, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Summerfield Athletic Park, U.S. 220. Enjoy music, rides and games.
May 17, 10 a.m. parade (along Summerfield Road)
May 17, 11:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. head back to the athletic park on U.S. 220 for more music, rides, exhibits and games.