Commissioners hear about plans for the county’s 175th anniversary celebration
By MIKE CONLEY
Later this year, both McDowell County and the city of Marion will hold a 175th anniversary celebration and some of the events already scheduled for this event were announced Monday at the County Commission meeting.
During the regular Monday meeting, the McDowell County Commissioners heard a report about the upcoming celebration from Chuck Abernathy, who is the director of the McDowell Economic Development Association. He’s also the chairman of the Historic Carson House board.
In 1968, both McDowell County and Marion celebrated the 125th anniversary of their founding and in 1993, a 150th anniversary event took place. This year will feature a 175th anniversary event and the celebration is scheduled for Sept. 22 through Sept. 29.
The week-long festivities will begin with a 5K historical fun run at the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway. This will include history-related questions and historical re-enactors. The fun run is being coordinated with Frank Dean of the McDowell Trails Association and the re-enactors will be coordinated by Jeff Cordell of the 22nd N.C., Co. K re-enactment group.
A historic pet parade will take place at the Corpening Memorial YMCA. Organizers are working with the various animal advocacy groups in McDowell on this one.
At some point, the Marion City Council and the McDowell County Commissioners will read proclamations received from the state and federal governments recognizing the event. In addition, the commissioners will hold a dedication ceremony for the new Charters of Freedom monument.
Abernathy asked if the new monument will be ready in time for this celebration. County Manager Ashley Wooten said the board is still discussing the location but are now considering having the Charters of Freedom placed at Senior Center next to the veterans memorial.
The week-long events will continue Sept. 23 with a tea and historic fashion show at the First Baptist Church of Marion. “The event will include a stunning display of historically accurate fashions from the 18th and 19th centuries, music and period refreshments,” wrote Abernathy in a report.
On Sept. 27, all fourth-graders will tour the Historic Carson House with a special emphasis placed on the 175th anniversary of the city of Marion and McDowell County. On Sept. 28, events will be focused on downtown Marion. Festivities will include a “historic family stroll” with re-enactors and live music. “This event is being coordinated by the Marion Business Association, the city of Marion and various restaurants and businesses. This could include a scavenger hunt,” according to Abernathy’s report.
On Sept. 29, the festivities will end with a number of events at the Carson House. This will include period music, re-enactors and a play written by Freddy Bradburn. Carson House Director Amanda Elledge Finn is organizing this event.
In addition, the Mountain Gateway Museum is seeking to have artifacts from the N.C. Museum of History on display for the celebration. This may include items related to David Crockett and Andrew Jackson, both of whom stayed at the Carson House.
There is also discussion about having large historical paintings on display in downtown Marion. A 175th anniversary coin will be ordered and sold. Abernathy is coordinating this item. A historic home tour by van is another possible activity.
Abernathy said more events are still in the works. There might also be a time capsule, historic church and cemetery tours, an activity with veterans and a wine tasting.