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Carrboro radio station WCOM to host first 'Friends and Family Festival' on Saturday

A sign outside the WCOM studio in Carrboro advertises the "WCOM Friends and Family Festival."

Carrboro’s WCOM radio station will host a "Friends and Family Festival" on Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Carrboro Town Commons. The festival will offer corn hole, beer and wine tasting, disc golf, live music and opportunities for local organizations to reach out to the community.

This is the first time WCOM will hold a festival of this kind. Event organizer Chris Amsbary billed Saturday's festival, created as a fundraising opportunity for the station, as an “event for all ages.”

“The idea was to plan an event that both my 8-year-old daughter and me and my wife in our 40s would enjoy equally,” Amsbary said. 

There will be a variety of areas and activities for children through collaboration with the Kidzu Children’s Museum, the ArtsCenter, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Carrboro Farmers' Market and the Carrboro Fire-Rescue Department. 

Kidzu Children’s Museum will host an arts and crafts booth, where children can build items out of recycled materials. One craft involves making musical instruments by putting rice inside toilet paper rolls and decorating the outside with recycled materials. 

Kailey Singleton, who works as Kidzu's director of operations, said being part of this festival will also help Kidzu better engage people in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

“We really like to be involved in the community,” Singleton said. “The festival gives us a really good opportunity to engage with children and families, but also to engage with other organizations that will be there and to help our community.”

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said this event is a good way to celebrate a homegrown radio station. WCOM, an all-volunteer station, has been operating since 2004.

"It offers an opportunity for local community members to host their own programming and get people excited about local news and local events and local music," Seils said.

For entertainment, the live music will feature both local and out-of-town artists, including Karen K. from the child-friendly band the Jitterbugs, the Carolina Songbirds, Saludos Compay and Philadelphia-based musician Jay Carlis.

“This festival is really important to me as a musician who is starting to build a following and a career in music,” Carlis said. 

Although this is the inaugural “Friends and Family Festival," Amsbary said he sees it expanding in the future. He noted that this year's venue has one stage with four acts, but he wants to see it expand to two stages. 

“Anytime you do something the first time, it's a lot,” Amsbary said. “As you do it annually, it just gets bigger and better. We want to add this.”

For now, however, local leaders are excited to attend the festival for the first time.

Carrboro Town Council member Barbara Foushee said this is a chance for the community to come together for a good cause. 

“Seeing the community start to come together again in the post-COVID era is really huge," she said.

@DTHCityState | 

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