Last week for county’s 300th bash

Published 8:10 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

The last two Beaufort County 300th-anniversary bashes of the year are set to boost the holiday spirits over the coming week, according to anniversary committee officials.
Sunday, the public is invited to stick around after the Bath Christmas parade at 2 p.m. and stop by for slices of cake, along with some history, at a Beaufort County birthday party, according to Penny Sermons, co-chair of the 300th-anniversary committee. The party will be held at the former Bath High School on Carteret Street immediately after the parade.
“It’s going to be a 300th birthday party as a finale to the year-long event,” Sermons said. “Early on, we talked about a birthday party as an iconic reminder of our unique heritage. This is just the culmination, an end of the celebration, with a treat for everybody.”
Sermons said the committee’s goal was to have an event in every town, recognizing each community’s role in the overall history of Beaufort County. Since Bath’s annual parade is known to draw a crowd, the committee decided to tie its anniversary event in with the Christmas revelry.
Sermons, co-chairman Lloyd Balance, of Belhaven, and County Manager Randell Woodruff plan to be there, offering cake to parade-goers. Later in the week, the three will likely be found at the next, and final, 300th-anniversary event: Elizabeth City State University Choir’s Christmas performance at Northside High School.
Woodruff was instrumental in bringing the renowned chorus to Beaufort County — he became familiar with group during his tenure as Camden County manager.
“I had the opportunity to hear the choir sing several times at public events,” Woodruff said. “They’ll be really great. … They have a really strong music program at the university.”
The choir’s popularity is evidenced by demand, including performances at venues in major East Coast cities, as well as across North Carolina. The Christmas concert at Northside High School will cover a broad array of seasonal music: traditional, gospel and the more-modern. According to Woodruff, whatever the ensemble sings, it will be good.
The choir’s performance begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in Northside’s auditorium. The school is northeast of Pinetown.
In addition to praise for the ECSU choir, Woodruff commended the collective efforts of the 300th-anniversary committee, which organized events on a strict timetable throughout the year — the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra’s waterfront Washington performance in September the most notable among them.
“Penny Sermons and Lloyd Balance have given so much of their time and talent to coordinate all the events we’ve had,” Woodruff said.
He said it was a joy to work with the committee that represented a diverse group of people from across the county.
“It’s been a big undertaking for us, but we’ve enjoyed it at the same time. I don’t think it came across that we were just doing it at the last minute,” Woodruff laughed. “They really deserve credit for the success we’ve had.”
Northside High School is located at 7868 Free Union Church Road, Pinetown.