Holly Days and annual parade light up downtown Kinston
Holly Day Celebration activities—shopping, dining and lighting the community Christmas tree—set the stage for a bright December highlighted by the annual Christmas parade viewed by thousands of residents and visitors.
When the switch was thrown Dec. 2, 2014 for the community Christmas tree, all the holly trees lining Queen Street came to life. Ceremonies, led by emcee Rick Vernon, included Kinston High School band, Arendell Parrott chorus, Boys and Girls Club chorus, Gordon Street Christian Church bell choir, and local pageant winners Chasity Carraway, Miss Kinston-Lenoir Outstanding Teen, and Gracyn Murphy, Kinston-Lenoir Outstanding Mini Majestic Miss, and Walt Disney princesses.
Promotion of day-long shopping and special events Dec. 2, 2014 was prologue for the Dec. 13, 2015 parade featuring some 113 units—bands, floats, specialty acts and Santa Claus. It took 90 minutes to complete the Queen Street route under a brilliant sky, witnessed by one of the largest crowds in recent years, waving and cheering as the long parade passed by.
Owners of Sweetiepies Cupcakery at 211 N. Herritage hosted an afternoon streetside party December 2, 2014 for the young and young-at-heart as part of the 2014 Holly Days celebration. Brightly decorated store windows at Adriana's across the street added to the party's festive appeal.
Parade organizers Martha Bishop, Lea Jeffress and Debra Oliver with help by the Parks and Recreation staff declared the parade a major success, in part due to a large roster of community participants.
Santa Claus was in a good mood, and seemed to promise all the good children along the route that they would get full stockings and everything they wanted under the Christmas tree on December 25.
The arrival of Santa Claus was eagerly awaited by all the young and young-at-hearts along the Christmas parade route Saturday, December 13, 2014.
(Photo by Scott Bowen)
Planning underway for 10th edition of Run for the River
The 10th anniversary for Kinston’s Run for the River has been set for March 28, 2015. A planning group, headed by Jeremy Jones of the little bank, has begun meeting to lay the groundwork for a 5K, 8K and One Mile Fun Run.
Mission of the race, which was launched in 2006 by Pride of Kinston, is to attract area residents and visitors to Kinston’s downtown. A year ago, the little bank joined with Pride to help produce the event.
It has been reported that 63% of competitors in the 2014 8K race, 4.97 miles, came from outside Kinston. Forty-seven percent of those competing in the 5K race came from beyond Kinston’s borders.
The race weekend includes an evening (March 27, 2015) briefing and dinner for the sponsors, runners and volunteers at the Community Council for the Arts.
Runners in the 2014 race came from all over North Carolina as well as from Virginia and Pennsylvania. Winners take home prize money. The fastest 2014 runner was from Chapel Hill who ran the 4.97 miles in 23:31. Medals and cash rewards are presented to a large contingent of competitors.
Partnership leads to new street signs
A creative partnership organized by two business leaders has crafted new and attractive street signs along the Herritage Landing shopping district in downtown Kinston.
Business leaders Terry Andrews and Dan Sale encouraged local shop owners in the district to help pay for new signage. Welding students at Lenoir Community College helped mold the signs and employees of the City of Kinston helped with installation.
Observers and city leaders have applauded the two men’s leadership and have expressed delight with the new designs. More aesthetic improvements for the street are on the way, according to some reports.
Enticing new investors
A growing campaign to highlight properties available for lease or purchase details information about each under the Invest in Downtown site on Pride’s website.
A project of Pride’s Economic and Property Development committee headed by Stuart Lindley, buildings deemed to be in good condition and available for immediate use are candidates for the enlarged promotional effort.
What Is Pride of Kinston?
The mission of Pride of Kinston, Inc., established in 1984, is to lead downtown revitalization in Kinston using the Main Street approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which promotes economic development within the context of historic preservation.
Pride of Kinston is one of 57 Main Street communities in North Carolina in a program coordinated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance. (www.nccommerce.com). For more information about Pride of Kinston, see About Pride.
Pride of Kinston • 327 North Queen Street • Kinston, NC 28501• (252)
Artist Bruce D. Ziegler has generously made available to Pride his portrait of