04/03/06 — DGDC board derails April celebration

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DGDC board derails April celebration

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 3, 2006 1:49 PM

At about this time last year, children were preparing to enjoy the 14th annual De-Rail-A-Bration in downtown Goldsboro.

Not this year, city officials say.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Executive Director Julie Thompson said the DGDC board voted to cancel the event indefinitely because members said they could no longer justify the amount of time, manpower and money put into the De-Rail-A-Bration.

"It required a lot of time to plan the event. We would have it every year in April and, then, to get ready for the next year, we would have to start planning in June," Mrs. Thompson said.

Also, the number of holidays and other events throughout the county in April caused a problem every year for the De-Rail-A-Bration, she said.

"In April, you have the possibility of cold weather, there is the pickle festival in Mount Olive and Easter all within the same month, and that poses all kinds of problems," Mrs. Thompson said.

The De-Rail-A-Bration celebrated the historic day in April 1926 when a group of 100 men worked from midnight to morning to remove the Southern Railway tracks from Center Street.

According to the story, city officials and residents were bothered by the railroad tracks that ran through downtown. So, acting on the orders of the Goldsboro Board of Aldermen, City Manager Claude Grantham secretly assembled the equipment and men to remove them. The police turned their backs on the event -- and the workers were instructed not to tell anyone what they were doing. The job was finished by the time the sun rose the next morning.

Each year, De-Rail-A-Bration was considered a private function unconnected to the city calendar because the DGDC would hold the event, pay for it and provide the volunteers to plan and work at the event, Mrs. Thompson said. During the year, the DGDC puts on 25 events a year.

Of those events, Mrs. Thompson said the smaller events attract more attendance. The amount of vendors, rides and games at the De-Rail-A-Bration made it a large event that would take nearly a full year to plan.

Instead of an event in April, Mrs. Thompson said the DGDC board will have Jazz on George May 12. During that evening, three jazz bands will perform on the 100 block of South George Street while attendants can picnic with their families on blankets or sit back in lawn chairs listening to the music and enjoying food from local vendors.

The event will run from 6 to 10 p.m. The first performers of the evening will be members of the Charles B. Aycock High School Jazz Ensemble. Then, the duo Addison-Russo will perform until 8 p.m. Both performance will lead up to Adrian Duke of Hillsborough, the headliner for the evening, who will play some of his critically acclaimed selections.

Mrs. Thompson said she hopes the warmer weather of May and the jazz will bring people out to George Street. For more information on the event, call the DGDC at 735-4959.