Media Contact: Ashby Brame
The Town of Selma has planned a year-long celebration in 2017 to celebrate their 150th Anniversary. On May 1, 1867, with a dance and barbecue hosted by town founder, Confederate Civil War Officer, John. W. Sharpe, lots were sold around a newly established station on the North Carolina Railroad. Sharpe moved the Mitchener Station approximately one-mile east along the tracks to establish the town; the station was built around 1855 and is thought to be the oldest surviving train station in North Carolina. Today, Selma remains an important railroad town where North/South and East/West tracks help move commerce up and down the eastern seaboard. The town was officially chartered on February 11, 1873 and in 2004 the town renovated its 1924 passenger depot with museum quality exhibits on the history of the town and railroad.
Learn more about the history of Selma during this year-long celebration by attending one or more of the monthly events, coordinated by the Selma Development Partnership. The following list represents the current details available at the time of this release:
December 6: Kick-off Celebration – A gathering in downtown Selma to formally announce the upcoming year-long events. This will take place during the Christmas Tree Lighting at 7:00PM and will include a mayoral proclamation, event calendar handouts, decorative sheet cake, and light refreshments. The new 150th celebration time-capsule will also be revealed.
January 21: 5K Polar Bear Run and Dinner at the Depot – This 5K run will emulate the very popular Selma Railroad Days 5K run that happens every October. T-shirts and trophies will be handed-out to participants. The course will weave around the downtown Selma business area and will be a dog-friendly run. Starts promptly at 9:00AM. Visit https://app.racereach.com/r/polar-bear-run for more information.
That evening there will be a Dinner at the Depot event at 7:00PM. These dinners will be ticketed and held at the Selma Railroad Museum. This will be the first of 6 to be held throughout the year to celebrate the 150th anniversary. More details on each dinner to follow.
February 13-17: Selma & Black History Month – Speakers from the Selma Historical Museum will present programs about local, prominent black residents who had an impact on Selma from its founding to the present. Writers and historians who have published works on Selma will conduct interactive lectures and media presentations on the history of Selma with a Q&A and light refreshments to follow at each event. Events will take place at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum at 104 W. Anderson St. during museum hours from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. Contact Eric Jackson for more information at 919-333-4899.
March 1-31: Literary Programs – The Friends of the Selma Library will have book displays, children story times, and adult discussions about Selma and writers who have influenced Selma throughout the decades. Dates, times, and themes will be announced soon and all programs will take place at the library, 305 N. Pollock St., 919-975-1411.
April 22-23: “Selma in the Spring” & Historical Homes Tour – A pageant of period costumes and historical hats will grace the streets of Selma offering a beautiful setting for a photo opportunity and subsequent contest for the best-looking photo. The annual historical homes & gardens tour will also take place. Artists volunteering from the Johnston County Arts Council will be positioned at each location demonstrating and displaying their artistry. The tour will begin at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum and the event will take place from 10:00AM to 4:00PM.
May 6, 13, & 21: Selma Police, Fire, & EMS Recognition – Selma’s police and emergency programs will be hosting open houses, as well as vehicle and equipment displays. Reunions and recognition of past members will be a highlight of the month. In addition, through the Selma American Legion & Smithfield Selma High School Jr. ROTC, all Selma veterans living and deceased will be recognized. These events will happen in and around the gazebo in Downtown Selma behind Town Hall at 114 N. Raiford St.
July 4: A 4th of July Celebration and Dinner at the Depot – Join the town in their day-long 4th of July street party while reviving some old-time events from Selma’s past like the “Melon, Tomato, and Better Baby Fair”. The evening will end with another Dinner at the Depot at 7:00PM.
August 5: Chili Cook-off – A big downtown summer shindig centering on food: chili cook-off, barbeque cook-off, and a pecan pie contest. Prizes will be awarded and musical groups will provide entertainment throughout the day including a “battle of the bands”. This event will also be at the Town Hall gazebo and will run from 10:00AM to 4:00PM.
September 23: Farm Day – Selma was an important farm town hub for nearly 100 years. Farm day will be in conjunction with the Kenly Tobacco Farm Life Museum and will have various farm crafts, tools, and crops on display. In addition, an architectural scavenger hunt will occur to focus on Selma’s various building styles throughout its history. This event will take place at the Town Hall gazebo from 10:00AM to 4:00PM.
October 7: Railroad Days – Guided historical and architectural tours will be offered throughout the day during Selma’s annual big bash that is the Railroad Days Festival. Events will take place at the Max G. Creech Selma Historical Museum at 104 W. Anderson St. during museum hours from 10:00AM to 2:00PM and tours that day are free. The Railroad Days celebration takes places downtown and includes live entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, rides, special events, the Selma Railroad 5K Run, Caboose Run, parade, pageant, and much more!