J.C. Price Memorial Week will happen this year
By David Purtell
Editor’s note: The story has been updated to reflect the correct date of the memorial service, May 31.
For at least one more year, the Memorial Week Celebration will go on.
The J.C. Price American Legion Post 107, at 1433 Wilkesboro Road, will host the celebration and carnival May 27 through June 6. Organizers had been unsure whether the annual event in the West End would happen this year due to a lack of funding and a drop in attendance over the last several years.
“We are just doing it for the community,” said Mae Carroll, commander of Post 107. She added the post doesn’t plan to make any money off the event. She said there has been a strong outcry from the community to hold the celebration.
The event used to be the post’s major fundraiser each year.
Carroll said the poor economy is likely to blame for dwindling attendance and fundraising in recent years.
After the city received complaints about the event in 2007, and an incident in 2008, there was a heavy police presence, more than two dozen officers, in 2009, ’10 and ’11 that organizers said hurt turnout. But the number of police working the event was down to 11 the last three years.
Carroll said a number of people have called her to say, “Let’s do it one more time.”
She said it’s currently unknown if the celebration will be held in 2016.
This year, there will be children’s rides and games June 4 through 6 along with cotton candy, popcorn, and other carnival goodies. A raffle will be held June 4 at 7 p.m. for bicycles and other prizes for children. A $10 wristband includes the raffle ticket and allows children to ride the rides.
Vendor spots are available for $125 for a single spot or $200 for a double spot. The shelter is $300. Vendors must obtain a permit. Contact Abe Daniels at 704-640-1893 for more information.
Gospel singing will be held June 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the post. Interested gospel groups can contact Daniel Haddock, 704-637-6231, or Homer Robertson at 704-636-5688.
A memorial service for post members who died in 2014 will be held at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, 935 Mt. Tabor Road, on May 31.
No alcoholic beverages will be allowed on post property now will any dogs, except service dogs. The parking lot on Hall Street is no longer available; no large or heavy trucks will be permitted on the midway. A small amount of free parking will be available on post grounds through the alleyway on Old Wilkesboro Road.
This year’s carnival will be dedicated to the memory of Roy R. Leazer.
The event began after the emancipation of slaves to honor northern soldiers in the Civil War. It took place at Soldier’s Memorial Church, drawing thousands.
In the 1930s, the Negro Civic League and J.C.. Price American Legion Post 107 co-sponsored the event. After the Negro Civic League dissolved in the 1940s, J.C. Price became the sole sponsor.
Carroll is leading the organizing efforts for the celebration and can be reached at 704-636-2950.
Contact Reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.
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