Somerville Celebration to help fund courthouse project
The 11th annual Somerville Celebration will be Fri., May 1, and all proceeds will benefit the floor restoration project necessary to reopen the Somerville Courthouse.
“The floors in the courthouse have sagged, and a construction engineer estimated it could take as much as $170,000 to fix the problem,” Mayor Darren Tucker said. “We plan on doing as much of the repairs in-house as we can to cut costs, but this is still a big undertaking. We know that the flooring is the only structural problem we have, but we will have to assess the damage once we start taking the floor out.”
Proceeds from the Somerville Celebration traditionally go towards the courthouse, but Tucker said this year is special.
“The funds from the Somerville Celebration are a little more crucial this year since we are putting it towards the flooring replacement,” Tucker said. “We had to close the courthouse, which we usually use for weddings, reunions and other get-togethers. We really want to reopen it as soon as we can.”
The Somerville Celebration will feature vendors, food, live music, a 5k run, a one-mile fun run, a car show, a free bouncy play area and fireworks. The vendors and bouncy area will be set up at 2 p.m. with the car show at 4 p.m., music and the 5k run at 5 p.m. and fireworks starting at 9 p.m.
Everything is free except registration for vendors, which is $25 for a 10-by10 plot, and trucks, motorcycles, cars and tractors entering the car show, which is $15 a vehicle.
Last year’s attendance was estimated in the 2,000 range with over 40 cars in the car show and about 50 people running in the 5k and fun run.
“This is really a special time for the community,” said Somerville Town Hall employee Sam Perdue. “It really brings everyone together to celebrate the town and see the courthouse. The celebration brings in a lot of people from out of town who may not have known about our 178-year-old piece of history. That courthouse is our treasure, so we want to do all we can to fix it.”
Tucker said other fund raisers are being planned to help fund the flooring project.
“Once school ends, we will start our regular concerts at the courthouse every Tuesday,” Tucker said. “We have just finished our new covered bandstand, so our performers can stay dry in unexpected wet weather. We are also getting an $8,000 grant, and we are considering a pancake breakfast and will host our annual Fourth of July celebration. We have some money to get started, but we are battling time right now.”