As the calendar moves steadily toward Veterans Day, there also are plans to honor our veterans and active duty military personnel a few days early.
Natalie Jackson, assistant events coordinator for Waxhaw, filled me in on the plans for the Nov. 2 First Friday celebration 5-9 p.m. in downtown Waxhaw.
Jackson said the November event “is about gratitude and supporting those who are currently overseas keeping our country safe. ... Waxhaw is probably the most patriotic town in North Carolina.”
Like past First Fridays, Waxhaw’s local eateries and retailers will have specials for families to enjoy. In keeping with the Veterans Appreciation theme, Jackson said, “The town will have ‘Appreciation Stations’ where families can stop by and write letters, fill treat bags or draw pictures to be sent overseas. There will be static displays of military vehicles where children can get their pictures taken. One vehicle is called ‘Sawbones’ and was actually used during Vietnam.”
The American Legion will be on-hand, selling bricks for the Military Wall of Honor.
“A live taping of a new Internet show called ‘Hero’s Voices’ will take place that night,” Jackson said. “The show is hosted by Waxhaw Business Association President, Loyd Pennington, and features the stories of our local veterans/heroes. Jim Black of ‘Land of the Waxhaws’ will produce the show.”
Also, Eight Legs Gallery is creating a banner called “The Hands You Protect.” They ask that folks stop by and place their handprint on the banner as a symbol of gratitude and solidarity. The banner will then be divided and sent to military men and women overseas.
As previously reported in the Union News, “Union County Supports Our Troops” will have care-package collection points at Fuzion Hair Design and Twice as Nice, a boutique on Main Street.
And families will have the opportunity to listen to patriotic music as they walk around town or while they are taking a free carriage ride. Jackson said, “It is sure to be a wonderful night for families filled with appreciation for our veterans. “
First Friday plans are a collaborative effort of members of the Small Town Main Street Promotions Committee, including Chairperson Gigi Pinner of Gigi Fashion, Jody Sitton of Fuzion Hair Design, Jane and David Hunt of Eight Legs Gallery, and Natalie Jackson for the Town of Waxhaw.
I also asked Jackson how the Autumn Treasures Festival had gone.
She said the events department is still analyzing the numbers, but said, “We had a great turnout and (I) definitely (would) say that thousands enjoyed the festival.”
She cited the efforts of the many local volunteers, especially those of Terri Barbee of the Waxhaw United Methodist Church.
“Terri has coordinated our Kids Zone for the past eight events,” Jackson said. “Under her leadership, she took the Kids Zone from a baby changing station, (a) single bounce house and a few games to the multi-faceted venue our citizens know it to be today. Her level of work, out of the kindness of her heart, is an inspiration.”
In the next Union News, I will detail for our readers the events planned by the town: American Legion and Museum of the Waxhaws for Nov. 11-12. As a Vietnam veteran, I am impressed and gratified to see the efforts underway to recognize the service of our military both past and present.