Apex Downtown Business Association wants to host Founders Day celebration

aramos@newsobserver.comOctober 17, 2013 

— There’s no doubt about it: Apex loves its festivals.

Many weekends during the summer and fall, a whirl of vendors, music, food and activities for kids fills the downtown area.

But from about December to April, the festival calendar is blank. The Apex Downtown Business Association wants to change that by adding a Founders Day celebration the first weekend of March, around the time of the town’s birthday.

Apex was incorporated on Feb. 28, 1873.

Last year, the downtown association kicked around an idea of an Oktoberfest or fall festival, but the group figured there was a a greater need for festivities in the first half of the year, said group member Mike Sayers.

Sayers brought the idea before the Apex Town Council on Oct. 15. The downtown business association is looking for the town’s support with police and fire service and some help with clean-up. The Council directed staff to look into the feasibility and costs.

The Founders Day festival wouldn’t only celebrate the town’s birthday, but also the era. Expect to see old farm equipment, antique cars and re-enactors, Sayers said.

There would also be some walking historical tours on Salem Street where people could learn about the downtown’s buildings which are listed on the U.S. National Historic Register, Sayers said.

“Not many people know that the fire station used to be a gas station,” he said. “People would be surprised to learn that right now under that building there are old tanks. They were emptied and filled with sand. But there’s all kind of things like that, that people don’t know.”

For example, there’s a time capsule buried at the Apex Union Depot building, which now houses the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s all kinds of history in this town,” Sayers said.

The festival would also help businesses by luring visitors downtown, he said. “We try to add as much activity to the downtown as we can to support the businesses.”

The Apex Downtown Business Association already hosts several annual events, including the Apex Jazz Festival, Trick or Treat on Salem Street and Christmas on Salem Street.

Apex has never had an annual Founders Day celebration, at least not in recent memory, said Assistant Town Manager Mike Wilson.

The last celebration of the town’s history was the centennial in 1973, he said.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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