Town of Stanley news...

Several swearings in took place at the Town of Stanley council meeting last Monday. Folks sworn in included new planning board member Alisha Summey and new police officer T.J. Sanders.
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Pinewood Elementary news...

Everyone at Pinewood Elementary in Mt. Holly wants to express many thanks to this group of Redemption Hill Church members. The church members helped out with some projects around the school and did a great job.  Redemption Hill Church meets at 10am Sunday mornings at the Stowe Family YMCA in Belmont/Mount Holly.

Photo provided
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Gaston College alumni Carson Dockery, Adam Rhyne, and Caleb Stalcup (L-R) will lead the broadcasting team covering the College’s sports events.

Gaston College alumni return to
lead new Sports Broadcasting Team

When Gaston College’s new intercollegiate sports teams begin competing in the 2021-2022 season, the broadcasting team made up of students from the College’s new Sports Broadcasting class will be on hand as camera operators and directors and to provide play-by-play and color commentary. The students will learn sports broadcasting from three alumni of the Gaston College Broadcasting and Production Technology program that are currently working in the field.
Adam Rhyne, Carson Dockery, and Caleb Stalcup are eager to share their knowledge and professional sports broadcasting experience with students and to help share the inaugural season of Gaston College sports with the fans and community.
Rhyne graduated from Gaston College in 2013. As a student, he interned at Charlotte TV Station WCCB and went on to work there after graduation. He is now a director and Tech Operator at the station and has also filmed games for the Charlotte Knights baseball team. Most recently, he filmed sports for Wake Forest University.
A 2020 graduate of Gaston College, Dockery is also a Tech Operator at WCCB. He films local high school sports games for the South Fork Conference Sports Network and was on the broadcasting team for the Gastonia Grizzlies.
Caleb Stalcup graduated from the Broadcasting and Production Technology program in 2018. Like Dockery, he works with the SFC Sports Network, and he also currently runs the Broadcasting program’s equipment room, assisting students when they need to check out audio and video equipment for their projects.
Stalcup will be on location coordinating Gaston College’s games and will be the ground contact for the students on the broadcasting team. He will help Rhyne and Dockery, the main instructors, teach the course when needed.
The Gaston College Sports Broadcasting Team will be open to students from all majors who have an interest in exploring sports broadcasting. The goal of the program is to have students shoot, direct and do play-by-play for many of the school’s sporting events.
Beyond Gaston College, there are many broadcasting opportunities with local sports organizations like the Gastonia Honey Hunters, the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets, the Charlotte Knights, and NASCAR.
Students who would like to join the school’s Sports Broadcasting Team must register for the BPT 235 class, which will focus exclusively on sports broadcasting and give them the opportunity to get game experience. While part of the Broadcasting and Production Technology program, the class is open to all students regardless of their major.
For more information on registration, visit

Dinos in the Park scenes

The City of Lowell held a spectacular Dinos in the Park event last week. Over 1,000 folks came out to see and touch dinosuar replicas. Everyone was amazed!

Photos by Cristy Cummings

Lowell Citizens Academy signups

If you have wondered how the City of Lowell government works, you’re encouraged to apply for the 2021 Lowell Municipal Government Citizens Academy.
The 10-session course provides an in-depth view of all City of Lowell operations. The 2021 program starts on Monday, August 30 at 6 p.m. Sessions will be on alternating Mondays at 6 p.m. with a graduation ceremony at the January 11, 2022 City Council meeting. Each two-hour session includes presentations by City employees, hands-on activities, group discussions, facility tours, a police ride-along and a chance to ask questions of City leaders and staff.
Applications are due by August 2, 2021. Apply online today!

Mt. Holly School
reunion is Sept. 25th

Mt. Holly Schools Reunion -  Sept. 25,  2021  5 - 9 pm.   The location is Tuckaseege Park in Mt. Holly. 
This is open to anyone who attended MH schools.   $10 per person at the door,  Food trucks on site.  See you there!

Belmont PD plans
National Night Out

The Belmont Police Department will holds its National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 3 from 6-8pm at Stowe Park.
The event will feature K9 demo, DJ Buddy Love, McGruff the Crime Dog, Bounce House, DWI simulator, free hot dogs and other snacks, Sparky the Fire Dog, the Belmont Fire Department Safety House, and a Dunk Tank.
Come on, get to know your Belmont  Police and Fire department folks and have a great time while you are at it.

Lowell PD National Night Out

The Lowell Police Department is proud to host National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3 from 6pm-8pm at Harold Rankin Park. National Night Out is a nationwide community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships.  Admission is free! Giveaways, police demos, games, and more!

Mt. Holly PD plans National Night Out

The Mt. Holly Police Department will hold its National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 3 from 6-8pm at Tuckaseege Park. There will be food, music, games, and door prizes.  There will be a number of Mt. Holly Police Officers on hand to meet and get to know the community better.
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Gaston County Police to host
7th annual National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 3rd, neighborhoods throughout Gaston County are being invited to join forces with the Gaston County Police Department for Gaston County’s 7th Annual National Night Out. Residents are invited to spend the evening outside with neighbors and police at Dallas Park located at 1303 Dallas Cherryville Hwy, Dallas NC to celebrate this free community event from 6PM to 9PM.
National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts, strengthen police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
This year’s event will feature, live music, free hot dogs, chips, drinks, snow cones, popcorn, and more.  The event will also include K-9 demonstrations, pony rides, free fingerprinting for Child I.D. kits, free games and prizes, a fire smoke house, emergency vehicle displays, and booths featuring child safety information and much more.
The Gaston County Police Department will showcase a static display of its specialized unit police vehicles on site.  Officers will be on hand to speak and answer questions for attendees about their roles in each of the specialized units within the department.  Those scheduled to be present include patrol officers, K-9 officers, and members of the Bomb Team, Marine Unit, Crime Scene, Negotiators, and members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT), and Animal Care & Enforcement.  Public safety officials from other local police departments, fire departments, and rescue squads will be on hand as well.
Headlining this year’s event will local blue grass group The Quail Hollow Band.  So come prepared to eat, dance and have an AMAZING time.
For more information, please contact Officer C.E. Owens with the Gaston County Police Department at 704-862-6286.
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The City of Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank 10-42 Custom Wood for this beautiful work of art honoring Officer Tyler Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December 11, 2020. This piece is absolutely amazing and is already on display in the Police Department. Photo provided

Flag honors Tyler Herndon

The City of Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank 10-42 Custom Wood for this beautiful work of art honoring Officer Tyler Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December  11, 2020. This piece is absolutely amazing and is already on display in the Police Department. 

Photo provided
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Pictured with the award left to right- Lt. Arthur Pullen, Officer Daniel Marlow, Sgt. Cody Willett, Capt. Todd Davis, Officer Mike Harris, Chief Chad Hawkins, and Assistant Chief Corky Falls.

Belmont PD receives
prestigious MADD award

On Friday, June 25, 2021 the Belmont Police Department received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Agency of the Year Award of Excellence.
The award was presented to the agency for proactive efforts to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. This award was earned during the 2019 calendar year and could not be presented due to Covid-19 protocols.
The Belmont Police Department is the first agency in Gaston County to receive this award.
The Belmont Police Department has also received grant funding from the North Carolina Governors Highway Safety program to create a DWI enforcement position. This new position was implemented in October of 2020.
“As the Chief of Police, I am very impressed with the staff of the Belmont Police Department for their commitment to remove impaired drivers from the streets of Belmont. These efforts make our community a safer place,” said Chief Chad Hawkins.
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Founder Mary Wright at podium

House of Mercy honors founder Mary Wright

On May 18, 2021, House of Mercy celebrated its 30th Anniversary at its residential facility with a small, intimate for social gathering with social distancing to honor its founder Mary Wright and the Sisters of Mercy. May 18, 1991 is the official birthday of House of Mercy.
Mary Wright may be a woman whose name isn’t found in history books or on social media like most pioneers.  She will forever be found written on the hearts of hundreds of persons living with HIV/AIDS who called House of Mercy their home over the past thirty years.
In the mid-late 1980’s when the virus was becoming an epidemic, the HIV/AIDS stigma was at its height. Hospitals and hospice homes were not admitting those with HIV/AIDS to take on a new global pandemic just like at the moment (COVID-19). It was Sister Mary Wright of the Sisters of Mercy who was faced with a task of stepping up where our medical care professionals hadn’t moved forward in time.
As the founder of House of Mercy and first President and CEO, Mary Wright provided a home for persons living with HIV/AIDS who needed hospice care.   From corporate professionals to the homeless, House of Mercy served as a home to everyone.
Mary tears up when she reminisces about the great friendships and family made at House of Mercy. “We all ate together and “broke bread” at the dinner table at House of Mercy,” Mary says. “This truly was the Eucharist. We shared laughs and were family. We did everything together.”
 For some, the only family they ever had was at House of Mercy.
 “At the end of the day, we are all the same.”  Mary continued, “Never. Judge. Anyone. Our motto at House of Mercy was to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God from Micah 6:8 and my prayer is that it will continue to be the guiding principles for all decisions.
House of Mercy will celebrate its 30th Anniversary all year through its World AIDS Day on December 1, 2021 and Walk for AIDS, featuring Bark for AIDS set to take place in the spring of 2022. These events will be opened to the entire community post-covid.
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Gaston County Reading Soul Mates Progra

The Reading Soul Mates program sponsored by the Gaston Literacy Council recently celebrated its end-of-year virtual sessions at Sherwood Elementary School. Eight students worked with volunteer reading tutors to strengthen their reading skills and build supportive relationships while developing a love of reading. A new book was presented to each student. 

Good News from Gaston County Schools, June 2021

The Gaston County Board of Education received the following “good news” for the month of June 2021:
Gaston County Schools presented its most prestigious awards during the Excellence in Education ceremony on June 1 at CaroMont Health Park. Truist Bank sponsored the program. The winners were Teacher of the Year Staci Nezezon, Pinewood Elementary; Principal of the Year Tyler West, Pinewood Elementary; Assistant Principal of the Year Bridgette Best, Pleasant Ridge Elementary; New Teacher of the Year Maddison Szucs, Robinson Elementary; Teacher Assistant of the Year Wanda Marlowe, Catawba Heights Elementary; and Central Office Administrator of the Year Brett Buchanan, director of career and technical education.
Gaston County Schools had 22 students in the Class of 2021 to earn valedictorian or salutatorian honors. The students were recognized during high school graduation for their commitment to academic excellence.
Payton Love of Ashbrook High School achieved 13 years of perfect attendance. She received a special plaque from the Board of Education during her high school graduation ceremony.
The following high school students received a $250 scholarship for their participation in the virtual Career and Manufacturing Expo: Elizabeth Bunting, Ashbrook; Brody Cureton, Bessemer City; Emiliee Willis, Cherryville; Landon King, Stuart W. Cramer; Joseph Trite, East Gaston; Kevin Rebolledo, Forestview; Thomas Helm, Highland; Pablo Lopez, Hunter Huss; Luis Salgado, North Gaston; and Jesse Whaley, South Point.
The following educators received the Jennie Stultz Award of the Arts grants that are presented by the Gaston County Education Foundation: Marjorie Bone, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy; Anne Bame, Sherwood Elementary; Elizabeth Robinson, Pleasant Ridge Elementary; Bailey Gula, Sadler Elementary; Donna Biddix, H.H. Beam Elementary; Lisa Bame, Bessemer City Central Elementary; and Elisha Mitschke-Lamanna, Chavis Middle School.
Jackson Payne of North Gaston High School and Evan Richardson of Highland School of Technology received the Maxine Porch Scholarship.
Shay Philpot of Highland School of Technology placed second and Kaci Cline of Cherryville High School placed third in the City of Gastonia’s downtown art contest.
Todd Hagans, chief communications officer for Gaston County Schools, was selected as the GCAEOP (Gaston County Association of Educational Office Professionals) Administrator of the Year, and Elaine Glenn, workers compensation coordinator for Gaston County Schools, was chosen as the GCAEOP Educational Office Professional of the Year.  In addition, GCAEOP presented scholarships to Connor Corcoran of South Point High School and Zania Ratliff of Highland School of Technology.
Ashbrook High School senior Baylor Wyatt is the recipient of the Larry Rhodes Athletic Scholarship, which is sponsored by alumnus James Worthy and named after the former coach. Wyatt will attend Brevard College this fall to play baseball.  He plans to major in business with a minor in exercise science.
Belmont Central Elementary teachers Abbey McKinney and Kaylee Hines participated in the “MyPlate” program that integrates fourth grade science and literacy standards with health and nutrition activities by using Schoology, technology, and real-world experiences.
Belmont Central Elementary art teacher Anna Smith worked with the City of Belmont’s design committee to create outdoor artwork.  Art teachers Brianna Beaver of Belmont Middle School and Carleen Rummer of South Point High School also participated in the effort that focused on the theme, “Many Threads, One Community.”
Belmont Central Elementary music teacher James Robinson received the Limestone University Department of Music Alumni Achievement Award and the Limestone University Early Career Educator Impact Award.  In addition, he will present a session at the North Carolina Music Educators Association conference in November.
Senior Sophia Foster is the first student to earn an associate degree from Gaston College while being dually enrolled at Bessemer City High School.
Bessemer City High School senior Garrett Clark was selected as the first recipient of the National Technical Honor Society Jon H. Poteat Scholarship.
Alert Metal Works donated three bicycles for Carr Elementary School’s iReady Bike Challenge. Students who completed iReady lessons were entered into a drawing to win the bicycles.
The Cherryville High School cheerleading team won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s game day non-building state championship. In addition, Izzy Smith received a $500 scholarship from the NCHSAA.
Stuart W. Cramer High School band director Kameron Radford is one of 189 legacy applicants from 2021 who is eligible for the 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award.
Stuart W. Cramer High School senior Kathryn Cupp received the Sylvia L. Holmes Scholarship, and senior Giselle Paredes-Azamar received the Pat Haney Scholarship from the Belmont Historical Society.
East Gaston High School senior Ashley Joseph received the Mildred J. Sadler scholarship.
Gaston Early College High School senior Angelica Brown received the Dunagin Scholarship.
Grier Middle School teacher Leanna Beach earned the Young Educator Award from the North Carolina Association for Career and Technical Education.
Highland School of Technology students Madelyn Van Meter and Ann Russell won the North Carolina Moot Court competition. Their adviser is Anna Ballard.
Highland School of Technology junior Lauren Tolbert is one of five nominees for the Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award that is sponsored by She also was named the Week 11 National Girls Performer of the Week, a recognition presented by New Balance.
Hunter Huss High School band director Heaven Watson-Weary was chosen as a quarterfinalist for the 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award.
The outdoor classroom at McAdenville Elementary was completed during the last few weeks of school thanks to a grant from Gaston Outside and the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council and support from the school’s PTO.  Staff member Cherri Johnston spent many volunteer hours working on the project.
North Gaston High School senior Theresa “Jordyn” Greene received the Paul Fuller Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an outstanding high school senior who has been a part of the Gaston County Schools mentoring program. She plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill.
The North Gaston High School senior class raised $1,800 for the American Cancer Society.  The money was collected for teacher Robin Bradley, who is a cancer survivor.
During the last week of school, the Page Primary students who met their iReady goals for the second semester participated in a prize drawing.  The students with the highest growth in reading and math received a golden ticket and got to select a prize before other students.  A total of 156 students participated in the drawing, and each student received a toy home with them.  Prizes were donated by the school’s PTO, Belmont Foursquare Church, Park Street United Methodist Church, and South Point Baptist Church.
Sadler Elementary received several hundred books from “I’ve Read It in Books” to celebrate “Read Across Sadler Days.”  Students were able to keep the books to read over the summer.
South Point High School senior Julia Ho received the following scholarships: Clyde and Dezaree Brackett Family Scholarship, Honorable Ralph C. Gingles, Jr. Scholarship, and Theodore Drury Stowe Science and Technology Scholarship. In addition, senior Lilly Myers received the Perry Fewell Honorary Leadership Scholarship.

Tanner Muse attends

(Above) Lowe’s in Belmont had its grand opening of the Tool Rental Dept. on June 18th. The “board cutting” ceremony featured Mayor Charlie Martin (center) doing the honors. Also on hand was former South Point High Red Raider, former Clemson University Tiger and current NFL Player Tanner Muse (left) as a special guest. Also seen as Martin cuts one is Belmont PD asst. chief Corky Falls. (Right) Tanner Muse.

Photos by Tommy Bain
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Jennifer Reed

North Gaston earns national yearbook design recognition

Schools around the world produce yearbooks annually.  This year, North Gaston High School’s publication ranks among the best.
North Gaston’s award-winning publication titled “NOGA” is featured in Jostens’ Look Book 2021, a collection of school yearbooks that celebrate the best of the best in design, inclusivity, and excellence.
The yearbook staff includes Cassidy McMahan, Jackson Payne, Sydney Shugart, Julia Stroud, Cecelia Tolbert, Hannah Trainham, Peyton Davis, Kelsey Dockery, DJ Bishop, Victoria Duncan, Karsyn Monk, Justin Helms, Dylan Helms, Shyanne Large, Elizabeth Cable, and Madison Mills.  The yearbook adviser is Jennifer Reed.
“I am so proud of these students!  This was a yearbook created during a pandemic, and they did not let it stop them,” said Reed.  “They worked tirelessly to make sure that quality was never compromised.  Being recognized for their creativity and design with everything else that they have been through over the past year is a very nice reward.”
Each year, Jostens, a company known for producing school yearbooks, selects publications for its Look Book.  The collection gives students and advisers a look at outstanding yearbooks and their creative themes, eye-catching covers, beautiful designs, relevant coverage of school events, meaningful storytelling, and stunning photography. 
North Gaston’s “NOGA” publication was one of only 460 yearbooks selected for the Look Book 2021 from more than 1,000 yearbooks submitted for consideration.  During Reed’s tenure as the yearbook adviser, Jostens has chosen North Gaston’s publication for its Look Book four times. In addition, the yearbook has received the The Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Medalist Certificate along with several honors from the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association.
“We commend our yearbook staff and Mrs. Reed for their hard work, dedication, and leadership to give us another quality yearbook,” said North Gaston principal George Conner.  “This award is a great accomplishment, and it is a major achievement for our school to be recognized once again on a national level by Jostens.”
Reed and the yearbook staff received a plaque and banner from Jostens to celebrate their status as one of the best school yearbooks created this year.
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Pictured from Left to Right Jeff Stanton, Kelly Hinson (From Stanton Enterprises/McDonald’s), Janice McRorie, Chair of Mount Holly Community Development Foundation, Emily Andress of Awaken Gallery, Teresa Rench, Chair of Arts Mount Holly.

Mt. Holly Lantern Parade gearing up for another year

For the third year, Stanton Enterprises recently donated a check to the  Mount Holly Community Development Foundation to purchase the materials for our Gaston County Art Teachers so their students can participate in the Mt. Holly Lantern Parade.
“This year’s 4th Annual Lantern Parade will be hitting the streets again after last year’s Covid modified reverse lantern parade and everyone is so excited,” said parade organizer Emily Andress. “Currently, teachers  from Mount Holly, Belmont, Cramerton, Gastonia, Cherryville, and Stanley and are looking to get even more involved this year. The fact that McDonald’s provides the funds makes it easier for art teachers and students to jump on board. The Lantern Parade is meant to shine a light on community and art education and the importance of both. Every year it is a thrill to see what the schools have come up with. Even during last year’s difficulties, area students and their teachers made over 500 lanterns while the community and businesses jumped in with over 100 more. It’s an example of how we all were able to do something special and still keep everyone safe. We are so grateful for the involvement the business community has added to our parade and how generously they continue to sponsor it. Without it, this would be very difficult to pull off.”
The Lantern Parade will be held on October 23 beginning at 7 pm with the theme of ‘Let’s all go to the movies!’. Anyone who wants to build a lantern is welcome and can contact
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John Bittinger

Gaston Capital new Development Officer

Gaston Capital Partners, a private investment firm providing capital and resources to companies targeted for explosive growth, is pleased to announce the hiring of John Bittinger as the new Development Officer Fund 5. Formerly the Senior District Executive for the Mecklenburg County Council Boy Scout of America, Bittinger brings more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, recruitment and team building. He will be responsible for identifying and securing new business investor opportunities for the Gaston Capital Fund 5.

Gospel concerts planned

Saturday July 24th – 6 PM, Lowesville Gospel Concerts at Living Word Ministries – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents Carolina Quartet with Sammy O’Banion.  Expecting a full house, so better come early for this one.  This will be a great evening of fun and worship.  Bring a friend and come enjoy.

July 31st 6 PM presents the Siler Family from Newport News VA, and The Griffins from Spartanburg, SC.
The Griffins are a Progressive Southern Gospel trio from Spartanburg, SC. The group has been ministering through song and personal testimony for a little over nine years and have shared their ministry at the prestigious Billy Graham Evangelical Associations headquarters and Library grounds, Dollywood, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, and worship centers both nationally and internationally. The trio has also made personal appearances by radio and television.
Concert admission free. A freewill offering only to be received, and you are invited.  Contact Carroll Cooke for information 704-618-9762.

Willie Bert Rhyne honored

Last week the City of Mt. Holly honored WWII U.S. Navy veteran Willie Bert Rhyne on his 100th birthday (July 6). Mayor Bryan Hough read a proclamation citing some of Rhyne’s exemplary service to his nation and community. “The world needs more people like you,” Hough told Rhyne. A large photo portrait of Rhyne taken by Tony McGee was also presented. (Above) Afterwards, members of the city council lined up and shook Rhyne’s hand. (Right) Willie Bert Rhyne and Mayor Bryan Hough.

Photos by Alan Hodge

Online falls prevention workshop for seniors set

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer another session of its popular online program for older adults that aims to reduce, or even prevent, fall risks at home. The “A Matter of Balance” workshop is a national program sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging and consists of nine sessions that will be held online Mondays and Wednesdays, August 2 through August 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
“This program makes such a difference in the lives of workshop participants,” said Linda Minges, a program instructor. “The fear of falling could actually lead to a fall because that fear limits activities, causes difficult emotions and leads to isolation, which can lead to poor balance and weakness.”
There is no charge for the course, but participants must be a resident of one of the following North Carolina counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, or Union. They must also be able to access Zoom via the internet with a computer and video for each weekly session.
To register or for more information, contact Linda J. Minges, with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, at or 704-922-2127. The registration deadline is July19, and group size limited.
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Bobby Brown

Bobby Brown
to receive honor

On Saturday, July 24th, Belmont Historical Society will honor one of the seven founders of its organization, Mr. Robert Dallas “Bobby” Brown, as the 2019 Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
A graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College, Mr. Brown returned to Belmont in 1961 to teach and coach at Belmont Junior High School, later working at Summey Hardware. Over the years, Bobby touched the lives of many students, athletes, and colleagues with his infectious love of life. After his retirement, Bobby focused on his many interests, including history, writing, music, automobile restoration, sports, and philanthropy. Bobby served on the Board of Directors of Belmont Sports Hall of Fame and authored three books: Laughin’, Living, and Learning; Some Things That Come With Life; and Guy Brown Is Back. He also served as a volunteer for Mended Hearts Chapter 379, visiting and encouraging patients recently diagnosed with heart disease.
Mr. Phil Tate, long time coach at South Point High School and close friend of Bobby Brown will provide remarks during a reception that will be held at the museum at 40 Catawba Street, Belmont, beginning at 2:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Lowell planning series of events

The City of Lowell is very excited to have some community events on the calendar again, including some new events.

Saturday, July 17 - 6pm-8pm - Dinos in the Park 
Harold Rankin Park
Free family friendly dinosaur show by Ed’s Dinosaurs Live. CaroMont Health is a proud sponsor of this event.
Food trucks by Will’s Doggn’ It and Jack’s Treat Truck.

Tuesday, August 3 - 6pm-8pm - National Night Out with the Lowell Police Department
National Night Out is a nationwide community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships. Admission is free! Giveaways, police demos, games, and more!

Saturday, August 14 - 7pm-9pm - Music in the Park
Harold Rankin Park
Free concert by ECHO13. CaroMont Health is a proud sponsor of this event.
Food trucks by Lobster Dogs, Cavendish Brewery, and XCite Sweet Connections.

Thursday, September 16 - 3pm-6pm - Trucks in the Park
Harold Rankin Park
Free family event to give kids the opportunity to touch and explore different type of vehicles! CaroMont Health is a proud sponsor of this event.
*3:00pm-3:45pm will be Sensory Time meaning there will be no flashing lights or sirens during this time. If anyone in your family or group is sensitive to sensory input, we recommend coming during this time frame.
Businesses/local organizations that are interested in bringing out a vehicle for the event, please contact Lowell Parks and Recreation at (704) 824-0099 or email

Saturday, October 9 - 6pm-10pm - Festival in the Park
Harold Rankin Park
Free concert by Shelby Rae Moore Band, food trucks, craft vendors, and rides. CaroMont Health is a proud sponsor of this event.
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North Gaston High School senior class raised money for American Cancer Society

The North Gaston High School senior class raised $1,800 for the American Cancer Society. The money was collected for teacher Robin Bradley, who is a cancer survivor. Way to go Class of 2021! 

Gaston Parks & Rec. Bio Blitz scenes...

Everyone had an awesome time at the Gaston County Parks and Rec. first ever Bio Blitz nature hike event at George Poston Park last week. There were 434 natural observations with 181 species identified by participants. Parks and Rec. wants to thank fellow departments that helped make this event a success: Gaston County Natural Resources, NC Cooperative Extension, Gaston County Library, Gaston Area Mushroom Club, and Gavin Dawson the Senior District Piedmont Council with Boy Scouts. Here are some scenes from the great time outdoors.
Gaston Parks and Rec. photos
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Today’s Daily Bread founder Candace Nichols cuts the ribbon surrounded by volunteers, sponsors, board members and Chamber representatives. Holding the ribbon are Clif Calvert of McKenney Chevrolet and Elaine Dimeo of Watson Insurance. Montcross Chamber photo

Today’s Daily Bread... nonprofit fills stomachs, hearts of students

Today’s Daily Bread is a Christian-based non-profit organization born last year from founder Candace Nichols’ calling to “fill the stomachs and hearts” of students 18 and younger who otherwise might go hungry during the summer.
More than 60 percent of Gaston County students qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school, but many lack access to meals during summer breaks.
Candace, formerly a human resources executive, felt led to help meet this need and created Today’s Daily Bread, a mobile meal delivery service, which celebrated the start of its second summer with a Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony recently in the parking lot of Exodus Church in Belmont.
Meals are provided by Gaston County Schools and delivered in a specially designed truck emblazoned with the TDB logo and that of several corporate sponsors, including McKenney Chevrolet Dealership, Biz on Wheels, Choice U.S.A. Beverage Inc. (Sundrop), Sunbelt Rentals, Don Mintz Builders, LLC., Advanced Copier Tech, Belmont Savings Bank, and Christmas Town Dentistry.
The ministry is funded entirely through donations and sponsorships. A variety of corporate sponsorship levels are available.
In its first year, TDB averaged delivering meals to 165 children each weekday.
Rolling out for its second summer, Candace says there’s always a need at Today’s Daily Bread for these three essentials: prayers, volunteers and donations.
For more information and to donate money, time or services, go to
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Reid Park Picnic Shelter reservations available

The new Reid Park Belmont picnic shelter is available for reservation
If you have over 75 participants for your event, do not register online. Please contact the Parks and Rec Department at 704-825-8191.
Reid Park facilities include- Play unit, Basketball court & baseball field, Walking track & community garden, Multipurpose field, Picnic shelter that has two tables currently and more will be added soon.
Reservation Rules:
1. A park reservation does not close the entire park- it is still open to the public.
2. If the area you have reserved is occupied and they will not leave, call 704-825-3792 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. For assistance at nights and on weekends, call 704-866-3300.
3. No Alcoholic beverages allowed on the premises.
4. No parking inside the park.
5. All facilities close at 10:00 pm.
6. All trash must be bagged and placed in proper trash receptacles.
7. Facilities will be inspected after each rental and the responsible party may be assessed charges if the facilities are not left in good order.
8. No admission or ticket sales allowed at any event.
9. Use of children’s moon bounce or similar equipment must have proof of $1 million liability insurance on week before the event.
10. Dumping of charcoal or grease will result in suspension of the user and secondary contact person for one year of all facility rentals.
11. Events where 76 or more attendees are expected, and those that are community events, church homecomings, concerts, festivals, or fundraisers, must remove their trash from the park at the end of their event.
Cancellation Policy:
Cancel 4 weeks or more prior to the reservation date: Full Refund
Cancel 2-3 weeks prior to the reservation date: Half Refund
Cancel 7 days or less prior to the reservation date: No refund
Inclement Weather Policy:
If your event must be canceled due to inclement weather (rain, snow, etc. on the day of your event) No refund will be issued, but the renter may choose another open date at the same site within one month of the original reservation date.
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Photo by Van Lanier

New Interns from EMG
Program and Garden Tour

Certified Extension Master Gardener Sharon Lanier, and her husband Vann, hosted a garden tour at their home on Lake Wylie on Tuesday, June 1. The occasion was to celebrate the completion of the 2021 course of Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Volunteer Interns. Eighteen students completed the virtual course over the last 8 weeks. Topics covered: Lawns, Fruits, Vegetables, Landscape Design, Botany, and many more.
Upon completion of the course, students enter a one-year Internship, where they are required to volunteer 40 hours in their choice of many community activities. Interns also are encouraged to join the MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County, where they will meet other folks who have completed the process. Once the Internship is completed, they become Certified Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and commit to 20 hours of volunteer service and 10 continuing education hours per year thereafter.
ABOUT North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
EMG Volunteers support the mission of North Carolina Cooperative Extension by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable gardening practices that grow healthy people, gardens, landscapes, and communities. Their vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship.
If you have any questions or are interested in taking a future course, please contact Julie Flowers, Horticulture Agent for Gaston County, at (704) 922-2104.
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Mt. Holly Police Deputy Chief Reagan was honored to attend a special eighth grade graduation at the Mount Holly Middle School last week. Congratulations to Wyatt as he moves on to high school. Everyone at MHPD is proud of you and your great accomplishment. MHPD photo

Police Deputy congratulates Wyatt

Mt. Holly Police Deputy Chief Reagan was honored to attend a special eighth grade graduation at the Mount Holly Middle School last week. Congratulations to Wyatt as he moves on to high school. Everyone at MHPD is proud of you and your great accomplishment.

MHPD photo
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Border to Border Operation

City of Belmont Police Department officers recently partnered with officers from CMPD, Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia PD, Ranlo PD, Cramerton PD, Dallas PD, Gaston County PD, and the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a “Border to Border Operation” on Wilkinson Blvd (NC 74). This operation kicked off the Spring Click It or Ticket Campaign in hopes of making our region’s roadways safer for all.     Belmont PD photo
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Boy Scout Troop 56 member Jesse Whaley and his mother Lisa McLean sitting at the veterans memorial plaza he created at Belmont’s American Legion Post 144.

Jesse Whaley’s Eagle Scout project is a great one

By Alan Hodge

Over a year ago, Boy Scout Troop 56 member (and South Point Class of 2021 grad), Jesse Whaley of Belmont began casting his eyes around for a project to earn his Eagle Scout designation. By and by, his focus fell on the building and grounds at American Legion Post 144 near Davis Park.
Whaley observed that the Auten-Stowe American Legion Post 144 building, which  dates to around 1952, was starting to look a little tired and the landscaping, such as it was, a bit scruffy. Therefore, Whaley, 18, decided to pitch in and do some fixing up on the place.
Whaley has been in scouting since first grade. His troop is based at Belmont’s First United Methodist Church.
“My dad was a scout when he was growing up,” Whaley said. “It’s a family tradition.”
Whaley said he was also prompted to take on the Post 144 project because of a desire to honor veterans.
“I wanted to give back to the veterans who defend our country,” Whaley said.
Whaley started by replacing the Post flagpole.
“I heard that Post 144 had a flag pole they needed  put up so I got some friends and my father together and we did the job.”
Whaley’s friends included fellow Troop 56 members Kevin Granson and brothers Grayer and Hayes Andrews.
The flag pole was just the start of  of what Whaley has done at Post 144.
Over the past months, Whaley and a group of his fellow Scouts. Friends, and relatives, have constructed a stunning veterans memorial plaza on the Post 144 front lawn.
The plaza includes a sidewalk, pentagon-shaped stone bench seating area, logos of the five branches of  our military service, solar lighting, new U.S. and POW/MIAS flags for the pole, flower beds, mulch, and out front, metal silhouettes of a kneeling soldier and rifle with boots and helmet.
The entire effect is amazing and has been getting plenty of notice.
“People walk by and remark on how great it looks,” said Whaley’s mom Lisa McLean. “It’s helped draw attention to the Legion and helped get new members.”
In addition to the plaza, Whaley also did some landscaping such as planting flowers in a box right in front of the Post door and around the building.
A huge range of folks and firms either donated materials for the plaza or gave discounts on the stuff.
Contributors included Lowes, Mad Macks Industries in Dallas, Conder Flags, Plant Delight in Raleigh, A.J. Landscaping, Concrete South, and Site One.
Troop 56 scoutmaster Michael Sass helped with the stone cutting and Whaley got lessons in welding  on the silhouettes from Patrick McElhone.
The work Whaley has done is greatly appreciated by Post 144 members. Commander Barry Smith had this to say.
“It looks great,” he said. “It vastly improves the curb appeal of the Post and raises its image.”
Another Post 144 member Dan Cloninger also praised Whaley.
“He put his heart and soul into the project,” Cloninger said, “Every member of the Post enjoys seeing it.”
Now that the project is done. Whaley will soon have his Eagle Scout board of review and should get the award in July.
Meanwhile, he reflected on the project and its meaning.
 “I want to thank everyone who donated their time and materials to see me through to the end,” he said. “It has been an enlightening experience.”

See more photos on page 9 of Banner-News June 16, 2021 Issue

Cramerton New Briefs

Golf Cart/UTV
Renewal Update    
If you have a golf cart/UTV currently not registered and would like to do so, please contact Town Hall at 704-824-4337. The requirements for registration are: completed application; copy of drivers license; and proof of insurance. The cost for registration is $15.00.

Independence Day
Saturday July 3rd     6:00 To 9:00 P.M.  Bring a chair and enjoy the fireworks and live music in Cramerton’s beautiful Riverfront Downtown Centennial Center.  July 4: Town Hall, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation Department will be closed in observance of the Fourth of July.

Blackboard Connect-Cty
The Town can notify you of upcoming events and other information such as garbage delays and public safety to your phone and e-mail via Blackboard Connect CTY. Please call us at 704-824-4337 or visit our website at in order to become a recipient of this information.

Baltimore School
The 900 square foot school near the South Fork of the Catawba River served the African American community in the tiny village of Baltimore for decades from the Depression Era and World War II through the end of segregation. Fundraising is underway to assist in renovation and preservation of this historic landmark. Donations can be made to the:Community Foundation (which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity) Post Office Box 123, Gastonia, NC 28053. Phone: 704-864-0927(please be sure to title donations as the “Historic Baltimore School”).

Central Park
The revitalization of Cramerton’s Central Park is complete. A vision that was a two year undertaking. The improved amenities include: natural surface walking track; picnic shelter (10 tables); natural stream running the length of the park; and an active open field. The park is located at 110 Victory Lane. The entrance is located at the intersection of Washington Street and Brooklyn Avenue. For additional information please call Parks and Recreation Department at 704-824-4231.

Goat Island Games
August 28
Goat Island Park, 141 Eighth Avenue. It’s time to lace up your running shoes and take out your discs! Grab your kayak and ping pong paddles and bring your best backyard cornhole game! The annual Goat Island Games is back and better than ever. Events include:Adult and Youth Fishing Tournament, Road Race 5, Ping Pong Tournament, Kayak Time Trials -Hosted by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Group Trail Bike Ride -Hosted by the Rocky Branch Park Improvement Committee, Pro and Amateur Disc Golf Tournament -Hosted by G-Town Disc Golf Club, Cornhole Tournament, Live Music, Food and Drinks, Cost: Race, Pro Cornhole Tourney, Kayak Time Trials will have fees, but everything else is free! PARKS AND RECREATION -704-824-4231.

Payton Love
graduates with perfect attendance

Congratulations to Payton Danielle Love of Ashbrook High School. She is the only graduating senior in the Gaston County Schools Class of 2021 to earn 13 years of perfect attendance. What an outstanding achievement! Payton plans to attend North Carolina A&T State University this fall to major in nursing. With her commitment to showing up for school every day for 13 years, we know that she has the determination and drive to succeed in college, in her career, and in life.
Gaston Schools photo
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The color purple...

Lavender can grow in Gaston County? The pretty purple blooms pictured here are proof. It’s easier said than done when it comes to growing lavender in our acidic clay soils. That being said Gaston County is home to a couple of lavender growers brave enough to take on the challenge. Lavenders are in their happiest state growing in Europe’s arid Mediterranean climate with well drained low nutrient sandy soils. This growing environment can be mimicked on our clay soils with amendments of sand or gravel. A soil sample will be necessary to grow lavender as well in order to gauge the proper amount of lime to apply as well. Our soils in Gaston County tend to be more acidic but lavender prefers a pH closer to neutral (7.0) or slightly alkaline (7.5). These conditions may be best mimicked for home gardeners in sand filled raised beds or in containers.
Lavender will bloom from May to June so this month is prime time for our producers. The fragrance of lavender blooms makes it a popular choice for use in oils that can be utilized in a variety of ways. It is often used as a unique culinary flavor, along with being a great choice for floral arrangements and wreaths.

Davis Park tennis court operator needed

The City of Belmont Parks and Recreation Department is seeking a vendor to help with operation of the Davis Park Tennis Courts.
The awarded operator will have the opportunity to utilize this facility to conduct tennis and Pickleball lessons, clinics, camps, tennis and Pickleball tournaments.  The vendor must have certification in teaching tennis lessons and experience in conducting clinics and tournaments.
The proposed agreement would be for one year and Operator would operate the tennis facility as an independent contractor and make monthly payments to the City of Belmont Parks and Recreation Department. 
For more information or to submit an application please email The position is open until full.

City Of Mt. Holly First Friday Night Event of 2021

The City of Mt. Holly held its first Friday Night event of 2021 on June 11. Folks were glad to get out and about.
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Honoring Veterans

Thanks to City of Lowell Public Works for their hard work with getting the American flags on the street poles. Thanks also to the four volunteers that put American flags on every veteran’s grave at Edgewood Cemetery and at the marker at City Hall. Many hours goes into locating close to 200 headstones of our veterans and fallen heroes.

City of Lowell photos
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Gospel concert set

Saturday June 12th, 2021  – 6 PM, Lowesville Gospel Concerts @ Living Word Ministries – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents Debra Perry & Jaidyn’s Call (right), plus Common Bond Quartet (above).  This will be a great evening of fun and worship.  Bring a friend and come enjoy with us.
A freewill offering only to be received, and you are invited. Info Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.

National Trails Day celebrated in Mt. Holly

The City of Mt. Holly teamed up with groups such as the Carolina Thread Trail, Mt. Holly Community Development Foundation, and Catawba Lands Conservancy to host a National Trails Day event at Tuckaseegee Park last Saturday. Mobs of folks came out on a beautiful day to see nature and outdoor activities displays.    Photos by Alan Hodge
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A few of the dignitaries present from left- Mayor Steven Denton, Bob Mahovsky, NC Rep. John Torbett, Com. Sgt. Maj. Ret. Russell Stalvey, and Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger.

Stanley holds Memorial Day ceremony

The Town of Stanley held a moving and memorable Memorial Day event.
The invocation was given by Rev. Wesley Frye, (Christ’s Lutheran Church - Stanley)
During the celebration, comments were made by John A. Torbett NC State Rep, who also led the audience in saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag,  Town of Stanley Mayor Steven Denton spoke about the massive numbers of veterans who have given their lives fighting in wars since the founding of our country and among those are the 141 veterans resting in the Stanley Cemetery; Rev. Danny Penny (Stanley Pentecostal Holiness Church) introduced special guests; and, the President of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund Bob Mahovsky explained some of the history of the cemetery and the critical need for funding to maintain the cemetery.  The National anthem was led by Stefanie Helsel, a member of the Pentecostal Community Center.  The benediction was given by Rev. Dan King, First Presbyterian Church-Stanley.
Special guests introduced by Rev. Danny Penny were as follows:  Sheriff Alan Cloninger, Town Council members Cathy Kirkland, Jimmy Ingold, and newly inducted Leigh Anna Helms. Also recognized were Rev. John D. Mayberry of the Revival Tabernacle, Judy Billings, Leader of the American Heritage Girls and Town of Stanley staff member.  Other special guests were: Colin Withers, Owner of the WoodShed Restaurant; Tommy Deese, Treasurer of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund.
The keynote speaker, Command Sergeant Major Russell Stalvey (retired) spoke eloquently of the importance of Memorial Day and gave examples of many heroic works done by many veterans across the globe. The audience of more than 150 citizens were captivated by his presentation and many spoke with him after the Celebration and/took pictures of him either individually or in group shots.  A terrific expression of appreciation and wanting to remember him and his comments.

Gaston Christian School 2021
Graduation scenes

Gaston Christian School held its Class of 2021 commencement exercises last week. The event was marked by solemnity and joy. Here are some scenes from the momentous occasion.
Gaston Christian School photos

National Trails Day celebrated in Mt. Holly

The City of Mt. Holly teamed up with groups such as the Carolina Thread Trail, Mt. Holly Community Development Foundation, and Catawba Lands Conservancy to host a National Trails Day event at Tuckaseegee Park last Saturday. Mobs of folks came out on a beautiful day to see nature and outdoor activities displays.

Photos by Alan Hodge

Gaston Christian School 2021
Graduation scenes

Gaston Christian School held its Class of 2021 commencement exercises last week. The event was marked by solemnity and joy. Here are some scenes from the momentous occasion.

Gaston Christian School photos

Gaston Day Graduation

Gaston Day School held its commencement exercises last week. Here are some scenes from the memorable occasion including the Jr. Sr. Recognition and Senior Class walk.

Photos by Mike Greene
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Gaston County Color Guard and the Marine League presented colors

Members of the Gaston County Color Guard and the Marine League presented the colors (flags), raised the flag after being dedicated, provided 21 volleys, and played Taps to honor and remember veterans who gave their all.

City of Mt Holly facilities open

The City of Mount Holly fully reopened on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. All City facilities have returned to normal, pre-COVID operations. It will no longer be a requirement to self-check-in for visitors.
Billing and Customer Service will be accepting in-person payments and inquiries effective June 1.
The Grand Hall will be available for rent beginning June 1, 2021. The City will rent at full capacity with no face mask requirements. However, the City will require a statement signed by the applicant accepting full COVID liability. The employee rental policy has also been updated and will be posted on the City website,
Parks and Recreation will also be returning to a normal activities schedule with no restrictions beginning June 1. The activities schedule follows:
Fitness Center Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am - 8pm, Friday 10am - 12:30pm
Senior Citizen Activity Time: Monday - Friday 10am - 12:30pm
Free Play Pickleball: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-3pm, Wednesdays 6-8pm
Free Play Volleyball (until league play begins): Tuesdays and Thursdays 6-8pm
Shelter and Tuckaseege Center rentals will also commence on June 1.
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Concert to benefit Museum

The Gaston County Museum is excited to welcome back visitors by kicking off its summer programming with the first ticketed event of the year.
Through generous sponsorship by Sammy’s Restaurant and Pub  and celebrating the end of their first combined exhibit together, David and Robert Childers, with friends, will fill the night with music and fun on stage in the Museum Courtyard. Refreshments will be available along with activities for the kids and the Depot will be open for audiences to grab one last peek at the Childers exhibit “It All Started At The Van Gogh Museum.”
As a special fundraiser for the Museum, tickets will cost $10, which provides entrance into the event and one chance in a raffle to win a piece of either David or Robert’s art. Tickets to enter the raffle more than once will be available for $2. All proceeds from the event will go to support future exhibits at the Museum.
“Childers in the Courtyard” will begin at 7 pm on Friday, June 11th at the Gaston County Museum. For more information, please email Alex Brooks at

Friends of Crowders Mountain

Friends of Crowders Mountain and volunteers worked on water diversions, trimmed overgrowth, and picked up litter for National Trails Day. Friends invites new members, volunteers, or donations.  See or

Photo by Verna Neal

Juneteenth Grand Marshals and performers announced

Elements of Empowerment, Inc. has announced participants in the 10th Anniversary Belmont Juneteenth Celebration events.
Tyrone Jefferson and Toni Tupponce of A Sign of the Times will serve as Grand Marshals for the Juneteenth parade. Jefferson and Tupponce are long-time friends of the organization. Toni emceed the 2015 celebration. Their band performed the 2018 celebration concert.  Jefferson is contributing original music to the forthcoming Belmont Juneteenth Celebration documentary.
Fellow A Sign of the Times musician Carl Ratliff will present a saxophone rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” for this year’s virtual opening ceremony. Ratliff has played with A Sign of The Time during the Community Jazz series at Belmont Abbey College.
Pastor Kevin Ford of Belmont Foursquare Church will give the invocation. Ford and Foursquare have been constant supporters of the Belmont Juneteenth Celebrations. They have sponsored the inflatable obstacle course, a favorite childrens activity, for many years.
The finale concert will feature steel drummer Minsky Delmonte. The Juneteenth veteran, who has provided early afternoon entertainment at past events, will give the anniversary performance from the evening stage in Stowe Park.
Elements of Empowerment, Inc. partners with the City of Belmont to sponsor and host the Belmont Juneteenth Celebration, a cultural festival of arts, crafts, food, music and more. Atrium Health is the celebration Wellness Sponsor.
The 2021 format is modified for the relaxed COVID restrictions. The 10th Anniversary Belmont Juneteenth Celebration Parade will include floats, the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Charlotte, and a rolling African drum circle. Representatives from the cities of Bessemer City, Cherryville, and Gastonia will also participate in the parade.

Event Schedule:
Juneteenth Sunday - June 13, 2021: As designated by proclamation. Faith Leaders are invited to acknowledge Juneteenth during services.
Virtual 2K Family & Friends Freedom Walk - June 13 through June 30, 2021: Register your family or friend group for this noncompetitive walk to promote unity and wellness. Just one fee for your entire group!
Belmont Juneteenth Celebration Virtual Opening Ceremony - June 19, 2021 at 1:45 pm: Watch it on the Elements of Empowerment, Inc. Facebook page.
Belmont Juneteenth Celebration Parade - June 19, 2021 at 2 pm: Decorate your vehicle and join the parade or support it by watching. Families, individuals, businesses, and organizations are welcome to register.
Belmont Juneteenth Celebration Concert - June 19, 2021 at 7 pm: Enjoy the steel drum stylings of Minsky Delmonte  and food by Tony T’zzz Grill on Wheels in Stowe Park.
Celebration Sponsors: Help support and sustain the Belmont Juneteenth Celebration. Parade space, Facebook promotion, and media recognition are included.

Virtual Vendors: Artisans, crafters, food truck owners, etc. get noticed in the parade, on Facebook, and  in the media.
Complete Event Details:
Book Online:
Phone: (704) 755-5210