There’s plenty to do in Columbus County this Saturday.
In honor of the county’s veterans, the City of Whiteville will host its first veterans celebration parade, to proceed down Madison Street and culminate with a wreath laying ceremony.
Also, at a Southeastern North Carolina Genealogical Society meeting, an academically trained historian will attempt to sift the fact from the fiction of popular regional legends.
And, in addition to its seasonal offerings, the Columbus County Community Farmers Market will be celebrating Collards and Cornbread Day with free samples of the day’s namesakes.
Veterans parade in Whiteville
Whether you cheer from the sidelines or you ride on a float yourself, Kim Sellers says that Whiteville’s first veterans celebration parade on Saturday is “a great opportunity” for folks to “come together to show support for our veterans.”
As the county’s veterans services director, Sellers says she’s “so excited” and “so proud” to host such a commemorative event in the county seat — a request that several veterans have been making for some time, she added.
Dozens of parade units festooned with patriotic flair and chock-full of candy are already registered to participate, Sellers says, and she expects even more to sign up before the day of the parade.
And of all these participants, Sellers says Weir Mitchell Barnes — a 98-year-old World War II veteran who lives at Lake Waccamaw — will serve as the parade's grand marshal.
The parade will proceed southward down Madison Street to the former Lewis Smith Shopping Center, where a wreath laying ceremony will then be held. Sellers says the ceremony, which will also feature several speakers, is meant to “symbolize our gratitude and respect” for veterans’ service.
“Please come,” Sellers encouraged. “It’s going to be touching.”
For those participating in the parade, lineup is at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Lee and Smith streets. The parade itself will begin at 11 a.m.
Columbus County Commissioners will also host a veterans appreciation ceremony on the steps of the Historic Columbus County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Friday.
These two events will be canceled in the event of inclement weather, according to a press release.
History of regional mysteries
The Southeastern North Carolina Genealogical Society always hosts interesting speakers, says Vice President Lynda Turbeville. From society members presenting their research into their own family histories to visitors “of such a caliber” as Chris E. Fonvielle Jr., a recently retired history professor at UNC Wilmington, someone’s always got a story to share.
And this Saturday is no exception, with Fonvielle scheduled to discuss his newest book, “Curious Tales from Old Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear: The Truth Behind the Legends.”
Pivoting from his expertise in the American Civil War, Fonvielle explained that, during the lockdowns early on in the pandemic, he decided he wanted “to do a fun project just for me.”
Growing up as a curious boy in Wilmington, Fonvielle says he learned of several historical legends in the outlying area; so, for his most recent project, he chose to indulge that childlike wonder of his youth and explore "five of the region's most famous legends through the eyes of a professional historian," stating that his intention was “not myth-busting, just truth seeking.”
At the talk, Fonvielle will share his research into the origins and development of these legends, including sightings of the mysterious Maco Light in nearby Brunswick County.
Based on his research, Fonvielle believes he has come "as close as anyone to getting to the truth behind the legends.” So, if you’d like to get to the bottom of these mysteries yourself, Turbeville invites you to attend: the society’s meetings every two months are “always free and open to the public,” she says.
The talk will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, located at 511 North Thompson St. in Whiteville.
Farmers Market Collards and Cornbread Day
This Saturday is Collards and Cornbread Day at the Columbus County Community Farmers Market, and at the event Nikki Walker says the public will have “an opportunity to have a true taste of the South.”
To celebrate these two indispensable staples of Southern cuisine, Walker says she and her fellow board members will have prepared dishes for visitors to sample. Fresh collards will also be available for you to purchase and cook up at home, Walker notes.
Despite the much-deserved fanfare for these two foods, collards and cornbread won’t be the only things on the market’s menu that day. There’ll be plenty of other produce and homemade goods for sale, says Walker.
Visitors can purchase their pick of potatoes, onions, turnip greens, mustard greens, fresh eggs, honeys, breads, jams, jellies and more.
And when you buy locally from the farmers market, Walker says you can rest assured you’re getting your groceries from somebody who has “grown them the right way.”
The Columbus County Community Farmers Market is located at 132 Government Complex Rd., north of Whiteville. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.