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Tourism, merchant groups partnering with Livingstone for Commemorative Classic

SALISBURY – People who book lodging for this year’s Commemorative Classic on Nov. 7 will be eligible to receive a complimentary pair of tickets and $25 in Downtown Dollars – in addition to witnessing a historic football game.

The Salisbury-Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Downtown Salisbury, Inc. have agreed to give a complimentary pair of tickets and $25 in Downtown Salisbury Dollars to anyone who books a hotel room or a room at a bed & breakfast in Rowan County the weekend of Nov. 6, specifically to attend Livingstone’s game against CIAA rival Johnson C. Smith University. Downtown Dollars are recognized as real money and can be spent at any participating downtown business.

To take advantage of the complimentary package, patrons must reserve their room by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, and call Tanya Turner at 704-216-6153 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. When calling, patrons must provide their name and confirmation number. Game tickets and Downtown Dollars can be picked up at hotel check-in by the person whose name is on the reservation. No exceptions will be made.

The partnership with the city of Salisbury, Salisbury-Rowan Convention & Visitors Bureau and Downtown Salisbury, Inc. is significant because it’s the first time they’ve participated in the Commemorative Classic at such a high level and because of the potential to draw thousands of people to the game that pays homage to the first organized football game between historically black colleges. On Dec. 27, 1892, Livingstone College and Biddle Memorial Institute (now Johnson C. Smith University) played in the first black college football game on Livingstone’s front lawn.

“We’re very excited about the city of Salisbury’s involvement, as well as participation by the Salisbury-Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Salisbury, Inc. and WSAT radio station in this year’s Commemorative Classic,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “Livingstone College strives to be a good public steward and always welcomes opportunities to work with Salisbury leaders. Only two institutions of higher learning can make the claim of being the first to play an organized black college football game, and one of them is located right here in Salisbury. In fact, that initial game was played on our front lawn.”

Jenkins and Commemorative Classic Organizer Talbert Gray are working diligently to ensure Alumni Memorial Stadium is filled on Nov. 7. To that end, logistics are being worked out to transport area high school students to the game, tents that can accommodate multiple people for tailgating will be available for rent and other exciting initiatives are being planned. WSAT 1280 AM radio station is a media partner for the event.

“We’re so pleased to be partnering with Livingstone College for this very important Commemorative Classic game,” said Paula Bohland, executive director of Downtown Salisbury, Inc. “The Downtown Dollars being given as part of the Commemorative Classic are an excellent way to introduce people to the many wonderful businesses and restaurants Downtown Salisbury has to offer, and we’re excited to be able to offer them to eligible patrons that weekend. Additionally, Downtown Salisbury, Inc. is proud to support Livingstone in the game because we’re confident the Blue Bears are going to win.”

In another show of support from Downtown Salisbury, Inc., a 4 p.m. pep rally is being held on Friday, Nov. 6, in the parking lot beside K-Dee’s Jewelers, and an assortment of prizes will be given to attendees. Officials from Salisbury’s Parks and Recreation Department are providing the sound and staging for the pep rally.

James Meacham, CEO of Salisbury-Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said his organization is delighted to join forces with Livingstone.

“Our local collegiate sporting events bring many fans and visitors to Salisbury-Rowan County each year,” Meacham said. “Partnering with Livingstone College for the 7th Annual Commemorative Classic is a great opportunity to show our hometown support and to create an opportunity for our out-of-town visitors to experience Rowan County.”

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