Patti Price is a perfect fit in China Grove
By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE — Patti Price loves to talk about China Grove.
It’s a good thing. She’s the town’s event planner, who started the new position in September.
In July, she completed Farmers Day, the town’s annual street festival, and in April started a new event, Crusin’ the Grove, which takes place the third Saturday every other month through October. Hundreds of cars lined the streets and filled the parking lots.
She also participated in her first Christmas in the Grove in December, an event attended by hundreds.
“It was my first glimpse of what this community is about,” Price says.
The town also offers Music at the Mill, the third Friday of the month during May, June, August and September, in which musicians gather on the porch of the China Grove Roller Mill.
“We want to bring people into town to support local businesses,” Price says. “We want people to have a good time.”
Price’s events for the remainder of the year include a Halloween event in October, the Southern Rowan Christmas Parade on Nov. 22 — which she’s already beginning to work on — and Christmas in the Grove, set this year for Dec. 17.
Price says she pretty much works on Farmers Day year-round.
“I had the best time,” she says of her first Farmers Day last month.
When Mayor Lee Withers met Price last summer, he knew she was looking for a job.
“As much as we were looking for an event planner, she was looking for a home,” he says.
“The town board had talked about this position for quite some time,” says Town Manager Ken Deal. “We had quite a few applications, but it was easy. She was at the top of our list. With her personality, education, experience and enthusiasm, she has worked out extremely well.”
“Patti is a breath of fresh air for the town and has brought a new enthusiasm and vitality to the community,” says Carole Brooke. She and husband Tom are longtime owners of Brooke and Brooke Attorneys in the downtown business district.
Price is a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and worked in the private sector as a project coordinator.
“I did a lot of events as a volunteer,” she notes.
She wanted to move to the area to be close to her daughter, who attends Wofford College. When Withers told her about the position, she sent in her resumé.
Price is tasked with planning one to two events per month. She updates the town’s Facebook page and its web site (www.chinagrovenc.gov).
“What I strive for is organization and planning,” Price says.
She also likes the way town employees work together, from the police and fire departments to public works, and she appreciates the support from council members as well.
“All of us are working together to make this town successful,” she says. “Everyone in town has been so supportive and welcoming. I feel like this is my home, like I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m now a resident of China Grove, too.”
She adds, “I’ve waited my whole life to find a job I love. I love the town, and I love the people.”
The next Crusin’ the Grove is set for Saturday, Aug. 20, from 3 to 7 p.m.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.
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