04/29/12 — City, Arts Council to restart Sundays in the Park

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City, Arts Council to restart Sundays in the Park

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 29, 2012 1:50 AM

What was an old time tradition in Goldsboro back in the early 1960s and '70s is coming back after a several-year hiatus.

Sundays in the Park will start up again May 6.

The event was a staple on a lazy Sunday afternoon at Herman Park for a number of years, former Arts Council of Wayne County director Alice Strickland said. As many as 10,000 people crowded into the park for hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, ice cream and lemonade, while bands performed on the park house porch.

A highlight of the event was Goldsboro resident Zeno Spence setting up his easel and painting the lady in the fountain and the park house. At the end of the day, he would donate the painting to the Arts Council to be auctioned.

Mrs. Strickland said Sundays in the Park began as a way for Wayne County's school students to display their artwork.

"They had no place to display their artwork like they do at the mall today," she said. "The art teachers collected art from their students and hung it on the tennis court fence with clothespins. It was a huge public school art display."

Mrs. Strickland said other local arts groups performed all afternoon.

"It was quite an event," she said.

But with life becoming more hectic, volunteers and the crowds dwindled and eventually the event was discontinued.

"Young women and men who had been faithful volunteers for so many years began to go to work and were not as available as they used to be," Mrs. Strickland said.

And the musical entertainment also changed from big band sounds to rock and roll.

During Goldsboro's sesquicentennial, Sundays in the Park was revived for the celebration.

"The community had wonderful memories of what it used to be and brought it back," Mrs. Strickland said. "It was hot, but we had more people attend than what we expected. Volunteers had to run out and get extra ice. It was exciting again."

The Arts Council of Wayne County has lined up some entertainment and fun activities for Sundays in the Park. Each Sunday, there will be local artists, craftspeople and produce available.

The event is free and will be at Herman Park from 1 to 4 p.m.

Kicking it off May 6 will be the Starlight Dance Band playing big band and jazz music.

Ubi the Clown will make balloon animals for the children. Karen the Hula Hoop Lady will have her hoops for those attending to try. Also, the Kiwanis Train will run and members of the Kiwanis Club will provide concessions.

The band schedule for the rest of the summer is:

* June 3 -- Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam

* July 1 -- Interfuzion (R&B, funk, jazz and more)

* Aug. 5 -- The Donald Thompson Band

* Sept. 2 -- Flat Mountain Dulcimer

For more information about Sundays in the Park, call the Arts Council at 736-3300.