BLADENBORO — A Bladen County icon is turning 100.
This year marks the centennial year of the Bladenboro Historical Society building, formerly the Bladenboro Farm Life School. Typically, the Historical Society holds a Fun Day each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day, but this year’s event marks not one, but two special anniversaries.
“This is the 25th annual Fun Day, and it’s also the centennial celebration of the building, which will turn 100 years old,” said Bladenboro Historical Society member Ricky Walters. “It’s going to be a big celebration.”
A pancake breakfast will get things rolling, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Stacks of flapjacks will be served until 9:30 or until the food runs out. Tickets are $5 per person and are available from Bladenboro Rotary Club members and Bladenboro Historical Society members.
At 10 a.m., the West Bladen High School Color Guard and the 82nd AirBorne Chorus will kick off the official start to the day’s events. In addition to presentations about the history of the building, the opening ceremony will include recognitions of former teachers and students of the Farm Life School or Bladenboro High School.
Especially for the Centennial Celebration, the Society has invited southern author and speaker Bill Thompson. For 40 years, Thompson has traveled across the state and around the South as speaker for international conventions and local clubs. He has been master of ceremonies for events like the Hollering Contest in Spivey’s Corner, the Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk and a grape stompin’ contest in Tennesee. His column “Front Porch Series” was a regular feature in Our State magazine for almost a decade, and he has authored six books, including Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken, and Lazy Dogs; Chasing Jubal; and Listen to the South Wind.
On display in the museum will be artwork by Bladen County resident Ed Harris. Having majored in Art Education with a master’s degree in English Education, Harris taught English and art in the N.C. public school system. After teaching for 33 years, he retired in 1999 and taught English part-time at Bladen Community College. After retiring he 2013, he began devoting his time to painting. His art work, influenced by eastern North Carolina, includes corncribs, farm scenes, fields and woods, and the flowers grown by his mother and grandmother.
“By capturing the colors and intricate designs of flowers and leaves, and the diverse patterns and moods that time creates in nature, I hope that when people view my work, they see something they had not previously noticed or feel a connection to a long forgotten memory,” reads Harris’ social media page.
Harris will be available to speak with visitors from noon until 4 p.m.
Throughout the day, entertainment will be provided by the 82nd Airborne Chorus, as well as local talent like Grek Sykes, Peggy Kelly and Born to Praise, Kayla Walters, Brenda Storms, Wilton Lennon, Megan and Jackson Pait, Nick Peady, Lori Guyton, and Wilton Lennon.
Games ranging from Go Fish and Lucky Duck to Plinko and putt-putt will dot the lawn, as will bounce houses and a dunking booth. A contest will be held to determine the best corn shucker, with trophies going to the top two.
Food offerings will include hot dogs, pork sandwiches, funnel cakes, shaved ice cream, cake pops, and boiled peanuts.
“We’re looking for a large crowd to come out and celebrate with us,” Walters commented.
Vendors are still invited to set up. Reservations can be made by calling 91-863-4707 or 910-863-3904. The 12’x12’ spaces with electrical hookups are $25, and the deadline for reservations is Wednesday.
Bladenboro’s Fun Day and Centennial Celebration will take place Saturday at the Bladenboro Historical Society building, located at 818 S. Main St. in Bladenboro.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.