Guest blog by Discover Durham
Durham to spur yearlong celebration
The 150th anniversary of the City of Durham will include yearlong celebrations coordinated by a diverse group of Durham residents to lead the official promotion of the sesquicentennial. Starting with the 2018 Durham Holiday Parade on Dec. 8, the Durham 150 celebration will honor the changemakers who have shaped Durham’s unique sense of place, tout Durham’s position for the future, rally proud Durhamites, and invite the world to experience all the Bull City has to offer. Throughout 2019, Durham 150 will encourage civic engagement, widespread community participation, and the values of shared prosperity.
“Durham 150 is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate Durham as the progressive city we know today, as well as those heroes in our past who’ve helped us get to where we’re going,” Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said. “It wouldn’t be Durham if we didn’t want to face tough issues head-on, look at both the good and the bad, and take part in constructive dialogue. We’re ready to celebrate, but also eager and ready to put in the work to lead as a welcoming and diverse community for the next 150 years.”
In March, Schewel appointed Shelly Green, president and CEO of Discover Durham, and Patrick Mucklow, executive director of the Museum of Durham History, as co-chairs of the Durham 150 convening committee. The committee has since laid the groundwork for a yearlong celebration, prioritizing events and projects that are accessible and appealing to all.
Durham 150 promotions will center on four cornerstones of Durham’s community: history and education, innovation and entrepreneurship, arts and leisure, and social equity and robust democracy. The committee will oversee the kickoff and opening and closing celebrations, while soliciting participation from residents, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations, inviting them to envision events and projects to commemorate the sesquicentennial. These events and projects can then be submitted for potential endorsement and support.
“Those of us here know very well that Durham is a city that doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon,” Green said. “Early on, Durham 150 set a goal to make sure 95 percent of all residents are aware of the anniversary by the close of 2019, ensuring outreach is purposefully diverse and grassroots efforts are prioritized. We’re excited to get going and engage groups from all corners of the community.”
Durham 150 is planning an official community-wide celebration on April 13, 2019, the Saturday following the city’s actual April 10 anniversary date. Events will culminate in a closing celebration in November. Visit Durham150.org to submit an idea and learn more about events.
Mayors Steve Schewel and Bill Bell are leading the fundraising effort as fundraising committee co-chairs. Contributions large and small are currently being sought from businesses, foundations, and individuals with a vested interest in Durham’s vitality.