08/20/12 — 'Elvis' will open United Way campaign

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'Elvis' will open United Way campaign

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 20, 2012 1:46 PM

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Stephen Freeman

Elvis will be back in the building Friday for United Way of Wayne County's kickoff event.

Stephen Freeman, a professional Elvis impersonator, and his Echoes of a Legend show band, will provide a tribute to the king of rock at the Paramount Theatre.

"Stephen came last year and we sold out the Paramount," said United Way's community engagement manager Catherine LeChot. "It was quite the event, and I heard that clothing items were even thrown onto the stage during his performance. We're excited to have this great caliber of an artist come to Goldsboro."

The North Carolina Community Credit Union will sponsor a meet-and-greet reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. that night.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. Taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. will be Drumming Up Character, a drumline from the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County.

"They are quite the group and very energizing," Ms. LeChot said. "That will really start the kickoff the right way."

At 8 p.m. "Elvis" will appear. While he performs, backed up by his band, four couples from Top Hat Ballroom will dance in the background.

"It's important to highlight our community partners when possible," Ms. LeChot said. "And having the Boys and Girls Club drumline is a perfect opportunity to do just that and also showcase local talent."

Ms. LeChot said having a kickoff like the Elvis is Coming show will help United Way raise awareness in the community about what it does, its 2012 campaign and its community partners.

"I think a lot of people who are familiar with United Way already know about our campaign," she said. "Maybe there are some people who are Elvis lovers, but who might not be familiar with United Way. So this is a good way to get them to come see Elvis and also get our name and cause out.

"It caters to a little bit of a different audience, and gets us in touch with some people in the community we might not otherwise get to talk to about United Way."

Tickets are $35 for the VIP meet-and-greet and $20 for reserved seating and are available at the Paramount.

Another event United Way has coming up is the 22nd annual Taste of Wayne County, which will be Oct. 13.

The Taste has normally been held on a weeknight, but this year it's on a Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

"We're hoping that having it on a Saturday will bring families out," Ms. LeChot said. "It's the middle time of the day, so it gives you lunch, but you still have the rest of the day to go do whatever you want."

Another change is the location. It's being held in the south 200 block of Center Street around Cornerstone Commons.

"One of the reasons we moved it downtown for the first time was the possibility of expansion," Ms. LeChot said. "We'd love to have it be a festival that celebrates Wayne County and not just Wayne County cuisine. We have great restaurants, but we also have great artists and great agriculture, and we'd love to showcase all of that, too."

Also, there will be a Taste of Spirits mini event during the Taste of Wayne County this year. Local distributor RA Jeffreys will have samples of drinks.

"We'd like to add one new thing each year, like the Taste of Spirits this year," Ms. LeChot said. "In the future, we'd love to have artists at the event, an additional farmer's market and even local bands during the Taste."

Nowhere But Up will perform at the 2012 Taste of Wayne County from noon to 1 p.m. The band plays Motown and jazz.

Although the event is not for another several weeks, a dozen restaurants have already signed up to participate, including four new ones.

Parking will be in a nearby field and downtown parking lots. Handicapped parking will also be available.

Tickets are $15 and free for children younger than 6. They will be available starting Sept. 4 through the United Way's website and at various locations to be announced later.

"United Way highlights great agencies doing great things throughout the year, and the Taste is another way to highlight what Wayne County has to offer," Ms. LeChot said. "We'd love to see it blossom and grow."

This year's United Way campaign has already gotten under way with the Frontrunners. They will wrap up their individual campaigns at the end of this month.

Marlee Ray, WAGES director, is this year's campaign coordinator.

This year's theme is "We Are United Wayne."

"The reason why we picked that theme is because sometimes in the community people associate certain groups with United Way, and they're not necessarily aware of all our other partners," Ms. LeChot said. "United Way is a lot more out in the community than people know about. The message we want to get out is that United Way touches so many lives. It's bound to be that you know someone or you volunteer at an agency that's impacted by United Way."

United Way's goal for 2012 is $1,234,000, which will help 24,680 local people, Ms. LeChot said.