A relatively small crowd turned out for the annual Morven May Day Festival on May 6.
Festival organizers at the Lemuel Community Center said that due to earlier rain, many people likely assumed the festival was cancelled.
Brenda Bennett, program coordinator for the center’s summer enrichment camp and the wife of organizer Sylvester Bennett, said that the festival normally has at least 350 people attend, but more than halfway through the festival, only about 100 had shown up and a handful of scheduled vendors hadn’t set up.
Gary Parker, one of four organizers of the festival’s basketball tournament, said that the group was expecting to have five or six teams compete, but 45 minutes after the games were supposed to have begun, they still hadn’t gathered enough players for the first game.
Even with the low turnout, the festivities carried on.
Several women — Beverly McIver, Brenda Townsend, Joan Coppadge, Magie Coleman, Sarah Burns, Carol Blackwell, Sylvia Pratt, Ethel Hall and Benita Sturdivant— wrapped the festival’s May Pole at noon. A step team performed, there was a parade and a car show, and a DJ played a variety of music, encouraging festival-goers to participate in dance-offs. Senior citizens played Bingo, nine vendors offered a variety of food items, Avon and other products, and children and adults alike played cornhole.
“We’re happy with the turnout,” Bennett said. “Our purpose was for people to come together laughing. I see kids playing. There’s fellowship and laughter. This is what it’s all about.”
During the opening ceremony, Sylvester Bennett presented medals to all eight of the festival’s committee members to thank them for their efforts.
In addition to the festival, the center’s other key annual events are the Summer Enrichment Camp, the Valentine’s Ball, and Apollo Night, where the children have a platform to display their talents. The center also hosts a variety of smaller events throughout the year, and is rented out for weddings, parties and more.
While Brenda Bennett didn’t expect many proceeds this year, she said any money made from the festivals goes back to the festival fund to pay for basketball tournament trophies, the DJ and other expenses.
Bennett said the committee sets small fees for festival events in order to enable more of the community to participate.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.