Currituck's 350th celebration set for for Sept. 15

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Barbara Snowden, who's Currituck County's unofficial historian, leads a meeting of a committee tasked with preparing Currituck's 350th anniversary at the Currituck Extension Center, Tuesday. Plans call for the anniversary celebration to be at noon Sept. 15 at the Currituck Rural Center.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 19, 2018

CURRITUCK – A 350th anniversary celebration of Currituck County is about a month away, and organizers are preparing to focus on educating the public about the county's extensive and rich history.

The event is set for noon on Sept. 15 at the Currituck Rural Center. The event is an hour prior to the start of the 2018 Annual Currituck Heritage Festival Bulls and BBQ.

“There are very few counties that you can say are 350 years old,” Barbara Snowden, a retired educator and Currituck's unofficial historian, said in an interview on Thursday.

The rural center is located off North Spot Road in Lower Currituck. The Currituck 350th will be held adjacent to the rural center's red barn where a new mobile stage is planned for the Heritage Festival.

Snowden said Currituck's elected officials, as well as elected officials from throughout the Albemarle region, are being invited to speak. She said plans call for Dr. Lindley Butler, an expert in Proprietary North Carolina, to speak for a short time on the significance of the anniversary.

Additionally, Snowden said the Currituck High School Chorus is going to sing, "Hail, Currituck."

Snowden said she found reference to the song back in the program for the 300th anniversary celebration of Currituck. "And so we've taken that program and tried to pretty much follow things along with that," she said.

Immediately after the 350th event, she said, she and other persons will be dressed in period costumes for Heritage Day. Additionally, someone from Roanoke Island Festival Park in Dare County will be on hand to teach colonial games to youths attending the 350th.

She said plans also call for bringing a periauger, a shallow-draft sailing vessel of the colonial period, from the historic Newbold-White House in Perquimans County.

Organizers are bringing the boat called “Mother Goose” from the Corolla area along with a stock and pillory that has been built and is presently at the Currituck courthouse. A stock and pillory was used in colonial days as a method to punish criminals.

Overall, Snowden on Thursday said, "I feel like things are falling into place."

Currituck's 350th is part of an ongoing celebration this year of the anniversary of the Albemarle region.

The region's roots can be traced back to British King Charles II, who was restored to the throne in 1660. Charles II returned the favor to supporters with land grants in what would become North Carolina and South Carolina.

The future northeastern North Carolina was named Albemarle County, in honor of George Monck, who was the first Duke of Albemarle and a backer of Charles II.

In 1668, four precincts – Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Chowan – were formed out what was the county of Albemarle, which was the first governmental unit of what would become North Carolina.

Details about Currituck’s 350th were finalized on Tuesday evening, when Snowden led a meeting of a committee formed to plan the celebration. The committee had wanted to piggyback on another event and decided the best fit was with Heritage Day.

The daytime part of Heritage Day features a barbecue competition as well as old-time tractors, horseback riding and many other activities and attractions. The evening part of Heritage Day focuses on a rodeo.

Currituck Chamber President Josh Bass, who serves on the Currituck 350th committee, said a key purpose of the event is to seek to encompass all segments of the county.

“And I just think it could be an event that really pulls the community together,” Bass said. “It's certainly a once in a lifetime event.”

One of the committee members, Dot Johnson, said later, “I think it's going to bring cultural diversity. I think it's going to bring everybody together.”

Sierra Williams, promotions and events coordinator for Currituck Travel and Tourism, also has served as part of the Currituck 350th committee. She liked the fact that the Currituck 350th is going to be the same day as the Currituck Heritage Festival Bulls and BBQ.

Williams also said this could create more interest in historic-based tourism.

“I feel like it's important to know the heritage of where you're from,” she said. “I think it gets overlooked a lot, but history is important.”

The event on Sept. 15 is hardly going to be the only recognition of Currituck's 350th.

Snowden said plans call for historian Butler to speak on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Moyock Public Library. She also noted as part of the Currituck 350th, a World War I exhibit is on display at the Moyock library.