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Locust beginning to plan events for its 150th anniversary

Locust is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and a planning meeting was conducted Monday night to explore possible celebratory events and fundraising opportunities.

Emily Jones, director of Parks and Recreation, organized the event and wants to model the anniversary after the way locals celebrated the city’s 100th anniversary in 1969.

Many of the events in 1969 included a centennial parade featuring 75 covered wagons, a beauty pageant, a beard contest, live music events, community dinners and the construction of a slab city which included an old-fashioned saloon, bank and jail.

Many of the people even dressed up in old-fashioned attire that was reminiscent of the late 1860s.

Jones wants to have several events leading up to the anniversary weekend, which will be Sept. 20-22. It is also the final weekend of the summer concert series.

Jones has brainstormed with other city officials about a possible itinerary for the anniversary weekend. Friday would feature live entertainment with food vendors and cool cars cruising by. Saturday would feature all-day events including rides for children and the concert series and fireworks would take place in the evening. Finally, the historical society offered to lead events on Sunday, which would be Heritage Day featuring a picnic in the park and people visiting the museum.

In terms of events, Jones would love to have community dinners, a silent auction, 5K race and rides and inflatables (including a possible Ferris wheel) for the kids, among other things.

Fundraising will need to take place, but the city has already allotted for additional funds to help with some of the upfront costs and the city council will vote in March to set additional funds aside to help as well.

The key though is to get the word out to as many people as possible, Jones said, especially people who were around during the 100th anniversary.

About 60 people were on the 14 committees that organized the 1969 events and Jones thinks at least that many people if not more will be needed to help plan this year’s events.

“This is great,” said Councilman Rusty Efird, who was 4 during the 1969 celebration. “It’s just really neat not necessarily to grow Locust, but to pull people back in that’s always lived here.”

“I just hope we can build excitement in the community,” he said.

There will be another meeting in the upcoming weeks for more people to get involved during which Jones hopes for more concrete plans to be created.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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