Group wants to host parade to honor MLK Day in Holly Springs

aspecht@newsobserver.comJanuary 15, 2014 

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    The Holly Springs Martin Luther King Jr. Community Foundation will host a walk in honor of the civil rights leader at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18. The event will begin at the Food Lion store at 517 N. Main St. and end at the Holly Springs Cultural Center at 300 W. Ballentine St..

    A celebration at the cultural center will include choir singing. Mayor Dick Sears, former Town Councilman Ham Womble, and the Rev. Cashual Lynch will speak.

    The foundation is accepting donations. Mail donations to: P.O. Box 282, Holly Springs, N.C. 27540.

— For years, the Holly Springs Martin Luther King Jr. Community Foundation has organized a walk through town to recognize the legacy of the civil rights leader.

This year’s walk will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday.

But organizers have bigger dreams for the annual event. They hope to expand the walk into a parade next year.

George Kimble, Scott Booth and Parrish “Ham” Womble asked for the town’s support at a recent Holly Springs Town Council meeting.

“We think it’s a great way to show off our beautiful town, as well as being the first smaller community to have a Martin Luther King Day parade,” Booth said.

They asked the town to pick up the tab for any overtime hours that police or town staff would accrue while working the event.

The parade would be on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, and would be modeled after the town’s annual Christmas parade, Kimble said. They hope to have about 100 participants start at the Food Lion on North Main Street and end at Town Hall.

The town pays about $15,000 in overtime hours to put on the Christmas parade, according to a staff report.

“I know that it’s cold in Janurary. But with the warm hearts on this board, and the warm hearts of the diversified people in this community ... we can make this a success,” Kimble said.

The Town Council will review the request when it discusses next year’s budget during a retreat to Southern Pines on Feb. 14.

While the parade would be a nice gesture, it may not be the best use of the town’s money, Councilman Tim Sack said.

“I don’t think there’s support for it right now,” Sack said. “If they were looking to spend it some other way that would have a bigger impact, I think it would have more support.”

The push for a parade comes as the group hopes to expand its role in the community.

The group recently shed its label as a committee to file for status as a nonprofit, according to Kimble.

This year, the foundation plans to award a $500 scholarship to a senior at Holly Springs High School, Womble added.

“With this, we are beginning to move forward and hope that you all will consider standing by us and working with us,” he said.

The foundation is raising money to pay for food for the needy, education services, child-care services and emergencies, he added.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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