Organizers are getting ready to fire up their grills, don their shorts and prepare for a good time during the annual Roseboro Community Day this coming Saturday. The now annual event is being held in the clearing in front of the old Charles E. Perry Elementary School.
“It began when I retired from the military,” said Roseboro Mayor David Alexander. “I came home and saw that no one was doing anything for the Charles E. Perry graduates, and that got me thinking.”
Alexander wanted a way to bring people together. “I said let’s get together and have a free picnic,” he recalled. “Anyone can come, and they can go from tent to tent and eat.”
Thus was born the Community Day, which now boosts dozens upon dozens of people from across the United States, all coming back to Roseboro for a day of fun, food and fellowship.
“It doesn’t cost anything,” Alexander said. “We’ve had people come from New York, from California. They would come home to be here and take part.”
The gathering, which started in 1997, is one that many folks continually put on their calendar, taking the chance to get together with others that have graduated from the old Perry school, now called the Learning Center at Charles E. Perry.
“It’s about just having a good time,” he said. “Sometimes folks haven’t seen each other in 30 or 40 years.”
“It’s for everybody in Roseboro. They can come and set up a table,” he explained, adding that it’s a great chance to meet people.
“We usually have dancing and music all day, with games for kids,” he added. They have even had a dunking booth.
“It’s mostly music and having a good time,” Alexander attested, noting the event was a good thing for the town and its people. “Everything is free and we want people to come out and enjoy (themselves) and eat. You go to somebody’s tent and they will feed you.”
“It’s going to be a good day.”
Anthony Bennett said he felt the same way about the Saturday event.
“It’s about fun and fellowship,” he said. “We invite as many people as we can.”
“This is for people all over the community,” Bennett noted. “It’s a chance to talk and get together. I’ve been going since the first one.”
The school has been a staple of the community in Roseboro for many years, with a history going back to the 1920s. The name and the grades taught have changed through the years, but the love that the community has had for the school and what it represents is still there, both men stressed.
“I was in the first first grade class that went to Charles E. Perry,” said Bennett. He was also in the next to last class that graduated there as well.
The community picnic will be held on Douglas Avenue in the clearing by the front of the school.
Helen Jones said that for her the Roseboro Community Day is always a special time.
“It’s for the Lakewood District,” she said. “We sell snow cones and popcorn.”
“We have some really good members and really, really precious young men that work with me,” she said about the group who have worked on this.
“Through the years we have never failed to make that,” Jones remembered. “The entire weekend is a beautiful weekend.”
Jones said that it started with everyone wanting to do something one weekend. A pickup game of softball, coolers, hot dogs and sausage dogs led to a tradition that organizers say is very close to their hearts.
“If you don’t have a Bright Leaf hot dog don’t even bother putting them in car,” said Jones with a playful chuckle. Jones is even known for some delicious cornbread cake.
“We always have a great time, a really great time,” Bennett said. “I get to see people that I haven’t seen in a while.”