Carrboro pride was almost tangible Thursday night as the town celebrated its 100th birthday with speeches, poetry, song and cupcakes.
More than 100 volunteers, committee members and residents filled the Carrboro Century Center for the town’s centennial celebration, organized by the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department and the Centennial Committee.
“We’ve been working on this for seven months,” said arts committee staff liaison Kim Andrews.
“I’m excited to be providing a place for people to celebrate the uniqueness of Carrboro.”
The evening began with a volunteer appreciation reception, after which many locals lined up to ring the Century Center bell 100 times to mark each year of the town’s history.
Mayor Mark Chilton then took the stage and told a humorous story about the controversial nature of the man Carrboro was named after, Julian Shakespeare Carr.
“Jule Carr never lived in Carrboro. He wouldn’t have dreamed of it,” Chilton said. “Throughout its history, Carrboro was the proverbial wrong side of the track.”
His next sentiment was shared by many throughout the night.
“Carrboro is a typical small Southern town, but it’s also becoming a progressive arts destination,” Chilton said.
“I am proud of who we are, where we come from and where we’re going.”
Rep. David Price, D-N.C., was next to comment on the “intimate yet cosmopolitan” nature of Carrboro.
He gifted the town an American flag that was flown over the Capitol Building and a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama.
No birthday celebration is complete without a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” and cake, which is how the event drew to a close.
“The night went really well. I had a great time,” Chilton said. “The crowd we have here is evidence of the pride we have in our humble town.
“We wanted it to be memorable, and it’s certainly a night my kids won’t forget.”
David and Karin Griffiths were two of the residents full of the pride Chilton mentioned.
“We’ve lived here for over 40 years. We’ve lived in the same house and raised our kids here,” Karin Griffiths said.
“I remember back in the day when all our friends lived in Chapel Hill, which was the fancy place to be. Now that place is Carrboro.”
Chilton ended his speech with the simple words “We are Carrboro,” to the raucous applause of a room full of pleased citizens.
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