Cheering for Davidson
by Staff Writer
by Zacch Estrada-Petersen
DAVIDSON – With historic Davidson College as the backdrop, hundreds of area residents and visitors converged on the Village Green for the 41st annual Davidson Town Day.
Tom Sadler started Town Day in the early 1970s, when he was mayor, to culminate a week of community activities. Town Day now serves as an opportunity for everyone involved to re-connect with the lakeside town that more than 10,000 people call home.
Among the throngs of people, there was face painting, bake sales, Boy Scout and Cub Scout booths and displays and voter-registration booths. Mooresville-based AcroFitness provided entertainment including a mix of cheerleading, gymnastics and dance by groups of various ages.
Downtown manager Kim Fleming handles tourism and business recruitment and retention for the town, but also helps plan local events including Town Day, Christmas in Davidson and Concerts on the Green. She said the festival is also an opportunity to promote local activism.
“We allow all of our nonprofits to be here and use Town Day as a fundraiser for their own individual nonprofits,” Fleming said. “We’re selling T-shirts that go to our Parks & Recreation scholarship fund to send kids to camp and we’re registering dogs, because they have to have a license in Davidson.”
Eric Johnson, a Michigan resident visiting family in the area, spent the day perusing vendor booths, supporting the local library’s book sale and enjoying the dance numbers. Though it was only his first time there, he said Johnson would recommend it.
Making their way through the masses were Andrea Haan and Madeleine Smith, two eighth grade students from the Community School of Davidson, who were on a mission of their own.
“We’re running a booth and recording stories about the history of Davidson,” Madeleine said. “We’re going to archive these stories that we collect, and the Davidson Historical Society will use them for other students looking into its history.”
The Community School story project is furthering efforts in town to start personal conversations about Davidson history. The Davidson Historical Society recently published “One Town, Many Voices: A History of Davidson, North Carolina,” by Davidson College Archivist Jan Blodgett and history professor Ralph Levering. The authors hoped the book would just be the beginning of the personal, unique histories of Davidson being recorded and made accessible.
Both Andrea and Madeleine commute daily to the Community School from Mooresville.
“This is actually really fun,” Andrea said. “I’ve never been to Town Day.”
Despite being a stone’s throw away from Davidson College, Shivonia Singleton, who graduated from the school in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and lives in Charlotte, admits she never participated in Town Day as a student. She’s come back sporadically since graduating.
“I couldn’t even tell you why I never came when I went to school here,” said Singleton. “But every time I’ve come since then, I’ve enjoyed it.”