05/31/17 — Princeton Community Day to honor military

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Princeton Community Day to honor military

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on May 31, 2017 7:10 AM

PRINCETON -- Thousands of people are expected to come together in Princeton on Saturday, June 3, for the seventh annual Princeton Community Day, honoring the military while enjoying music, food and fun.

Started in 2011 by Princeton Police Chief Tyrone Sutton, the event was taken over by the Princeton Chamber of Commerce after it quickly grew beyond Sutton's ability to coordinate by himself, said Princeton Town Administrator Marla Ashworth.

"The initial purpose was to bring the community and law enforcement together," she said. "Chief Sutton went around and got a few sponsors just to cover the costs, and he ended up making money."

Sutton handled the Community Day for another year after that, after which it passed on to the chamber. Since then, the event has only grown, Ashworth said. This year's theme is "Honoring Our Military."

Held at Princeton Elementary School, the community day's stage events will begin at 10 a.m. with a welcome by 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Christopher Sage. This will give way to the Princeton Elementary Melody Makers Choir from 10:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m., and the Princeton Church of God Choir from 10:40 to 11 a.m.

Contemporary Christian artist Larkeysha Shappard takes the stage after that, followed by a short break at 11:30. At noon, rhythm and blues band Or-d-nary Gentlemen is up, followed by the Louis Waymore Band from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Live music is far from the only thing going on at the community day, however. This year's event will feature five helicopters, some of which will be available for rides. Two of the helicopters are Vietnam War-era Huey's, which Ashworth said is bound to be a treat.

"There are a lot of people excited to see a Huey who have never seen one," she said.

Admission to the event is free, but helicopter rides are $35 per person.

Other events throughout the day include fire truck tours, food and crafts vendors, free children's activities and booths set up by community day sponsors. The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base explosive ordinance disposal team will attend, as well as the SJAFB military working dog team.

Ashworth said she expects around 5,000 people to attend community day this year. Previous years have hovered around that number, depending on the weather. The event is expected to bring in between $4,000 to $6,000, which will be shared between the chamber of commerce, Safe Kids Johnston County and the Princeton Area Library Supporters.

Safe Kids Johnston County provides child safety programs, workshops and other resources to help keep children safe, while PALS provides two-thirds of the Princeton Public Library's funding.