(DURHAM, N.C.) —The 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Durham will be commemorated on Saturday, April 13 at the American Tobacco Campus from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The official sesquicentennial birthday party will be celebrated with four hours of entertaining, educational, thought-provoking and tasty activities for all ages. The event is free and open to the public.

“Our yearlong celebration of the sesquicentennial begins in earnest on April 13,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel. “All are encouraged to attend and invited to learn more about our diverse, important past and position for the future. We’ll honor changemakers and lead constructive dialogues, celebrating and engaging with one another. It’s going to be awesome.”

The event will kick off with entertainment at 10 a.m. Mayor Schewel will lead the official birthday recognition, with fanfare to follow. Durham 150’s convening committee has established four pillars, or themes, at the foundation of Durham’s story to be recognized throughout 2019: history and education, innovation and entrepreneurship, social equity and robust democracy, and arts and leisure. Those four pillars will be on display at the opening celebration, with areas of American Tobacco Campus, referred to as neighborhoods, filled with exhibits, local experts, artists and activities to explore that are designed to inspire and entertain.

Those who visit all four themed neighborhoods may enter a drawing for prizes that will include entertainment and staycation packages from Durham businesses.

“These themes were thoughtfully selected to encourage today’s Durhamites to explore the strength, talents, issues and obstacles our predecessors worked through to make Durham the fascinating place that it is today,” said Beverly Thompson, co-chair of the Opening Celebration committee and director of public affairs for the City of Durham. “If people come and engage, we’re confident they’ll walk away having learned something new, and they’ll definitely know more about our community than they did when they arrived.”

In addition to the theme neighborhoods, there will be live entertainment on the main stage throughout the celebration. Some of the confirmed acts include The African American Dance Ensemble, the Bouncing Bulldogs, Kidznotes, and storyteller Willa Brigam. There will also be a Durham 150 photo mosaic mural, a 9’x6’ work of art that will commemorate the year’s activities with photos of community members and those present at the Opening Celebration.


A story kiosk will be on-site for attendees to share their own story on video and become part of Durham’s historical archives. To close the Opening Celebration, there will be a “Running of the Bulls” at 1:30 p.m. Up to 2,000 interested attendees will receive a floatable rubber bull to race down the American Tobacco Campus river. The top three winning bull owners will win prize packages, and all race participants can take a bull home as a souvenir.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate such an anniversary,” said Susan Amey, co- chair of the Opening Celebration committee and current Chief Marketing Officer and CEO-Elect of Discover Durham. “The Opening Celebration on April 13, the closest Saturday to the actual anniversary of the City of Durham’s incorporation on April 10, will be a day for all Durhamites to remember — a celebration as diverse and vibrant as the City it recognizes.”

Examples of exhibitors and demonstrations in the Opening Celebration Neighborhoods include:

• Museum of Durham History

• Stagville State Historic Site

• Freelancers League of NC

• Black Wall Street

• Pauli Murray Project

• Latino Community Credit Union

• Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

• The Poetry Fox

• The Patchwork Market

• Durham Basketball History & Clinic, hosted by Umar Mohammed

For more information about Durham 150, The Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna and other events, visit www.Durham150.org.

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