20 Ways to Celebrate Chatham County’s 250th Anniversary

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Honor the 250th anniversary of Chatham County by checking some of these cultural events and historical activities off your 2021 to-do list

Read a poem (or a whole book of poetry) by George Moses Horton on June 28, George Moses Horton Day. Horton was an enslaved African American poet from Chatham County and is the namesake of Horton Middle School.

Naked Genius by George Moses Horton
Photo courtesy of the Chatham County Historical Association

Ride back in time on the New Hope Valley Railway – a vintage train excursion at the North Carolina Railway Museum. Located in New Hill, the open-air museum features historic railway equipment, memorabilia, gardens and a gift shop.

Paula and Greg Stafford with guests aboard their houseboat on Jordan Lake.
Paula and Greg Stafford with guests aboard their houseboat on Jordan Lake. Photo by Briana Brough

Spend the day at Jordan Lake or on the Haw River. Hike, kayak, picnic and more along the shores of these beautiful destinations. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and osprey.

Walk on the wild side at the Carolina Tiger Rescue – a nonprofit wildcat sanctuary in Pittsboro.

Work your way through Chatham’s historical timeline from start to finish at the Chatham Historical Museum located in the Historic Chatham County Courthouse.

Grab a cup of coffee from The Belted Goat and a book from McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village. Later, attend a wine class on the terrace followed by dinner and drinks at The Fearrington House Restaurant.

a drink from the Fearrington House restaurant
Photo by Beth Mann

Read Paul Cuadros’ book “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Soccer Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America” based on his experience founding and coaching the Jordan-Matthews High School soccer team.

Enjoy a drink at the Chatham Beverage District, home to Starrlight MeadCopeland Springs KitchenFair Game Beverage Co. and Chatham Cider Works.

Charlie Daniels mural
Charlie Daniels mural

Charlie Daniels is best known for a song about going down to Georgia, but his own trip into musical history traces to the Chatham town of Gulf, just outside Goldston. Visit the mural in Goldston that commemorates Charlie’s place in the Class of 1955 at Goldston High School and the plaque outside JR Moore & Son general store in Gulf that marks the spot that Charlie names in his autobiography as the site of his first paying musical gig.

Stop by Bynum General Store, a long- time gathering place built in 1936. After the store’s manager retired in 2006, Bynum Front Porch was created – a nonprofit organization focused on hosting family- friendly events and programs that celebrate the community’s rich history.

Attend Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance – a biannual festival that takes place in May and October in Pittsboro on a 75-acre farm managed by Shakori Hills Community Arts Center.

Shakori music festival
Photo by Madelyn Matthews

Travel the scenic Devil’s Stompin’ Ground Road – also known as Devil’s Tramping Ground Road – from Pittsboro to Bear Creek. The Devil’s Tramping Ground is located in a forest near Harpers Crossroads where local legend says that the Devil “tramps” around a barren circle of ground where nothing supposedly grows. While you’re in Bear Creek, stop by Southern Supreme for one of its gourmet fruitcakes.

Follow Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Heart of NC Craft Beverage Trail for a taste of what local wineries and breweries have to offer. Or, take the Bed & Breakfast Trail to experience six unique inns in the area.

Rent your gear from Endor Paddle to tube or kayak down the Deep River.

The Camelback Truss Bridge near Gulf is a great spot for a picnic with a view. Built circa 1910, the bridge crosses over the Deep River and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fearrington Farmers Market
Photo by Beth Mann

Spend a Saturday morning at your closest farmers market – Fearrington Farmers MarketPittsboro Farmers Market or the Chatham Mills Farmers Market – where all the vendors’ products are made or grown within 100 miles.

Plant a native tree, such as a Southern Red Oak, from Mellow Marsh Farm in Siler City.

On Labor Day weekend, visit Silk Hope for Old Fashioned Farmers Day – a showcase of antique farm machinery, old cars and equipment at Silk Hope Farm Heritage Park.

Old fashioned farmers day
Photo courtesy of Silk Hope Ruritan Club

Learn more about native flora and fauna by signing up for an educational workshop taught by the Chatham County Cooperative Extension.

Chatham 250 plans to host a Founding Day celebration in Pittsboro on April 10 from 2-5 p.m. to honor past and current founders of Chatham County. Visit “stations” along a drive-thru route, which starts near St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and moves down West Salisbury Street, finishing off at the parking lot across from Postal Fish Company.

Visit chatham250.com to learn more about how you can participate in the yearlong semiquincentennial celebration.

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Marie Muir

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