Monday, March 14, 2011

Marry Durham on Saturday

Brides and grooms across the Bull City have less than a week to work through those pre-wedding day jitters. On Saturday all – including brides, grooms, guests and yes even wedding crashers – are invited to gather on the 700 block of Rigsbee Avenue, between Corporation and Geer streets, to witness or participate in what appears to be the first mass wedding ceremony between residents and a city.

Gates open at 3 p.m. for the 4 p.m. wedding ceremony, which will include Mayor Bill Bell and other elected leaders, NPR’s Frank Stasio, Wool E. Bull and music by Justin Robinson and the Bulltown Strutters. “Preacha’ Man” Carl Kenney will officiate.

Marry Durham Wedding Planner May Alexander, MAYDNEW dj and event planning, said attendees should expect a homegrown wedding that will be both unique and traditional.

“They can expect a joyous celebration of civic pride,” Alexander said.
Marry Durham is a light-hearted event intended to celebrate all things Durham, including its unique history, its diverse and creative community, and its community’s unrelenting passion to improve via innovative and grass roots initiatives. The ceremony’s vows promote citizen engagement, shopping locally, electing responsible leaders, and supporting arts and community organizations.

The event also seeks to support five nonprofit organizations that help make Durham a better place to live: Eno River Association, Genesis Home, Latino Community Development Center, The Scrap Exchange, and Walltown Children’s Theatre.

Sponsors include Vaguely Reminiscent, Reverbnation, MAYDNEW dj and event planning, and GR8MUSICROX.

A parade around the block will follow the ceremony. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. a block party-style reception will unfold on Rigsbee Avenue with live music in four venues, a Kids’ Zone, food trucks and special wedding cupcakes. The reception entertainment includes performances by The Beast, the African Dance Ensemble, Triple Fret, Jumbalaya Soul, and Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes. Robinson was a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which recently won a Grammy Award for best traditional folk album.

“I have been all around the world but I still choose to call Durham home,” said Robinson, a Durham resident who is building a chicken coop in his yard.

Walltown Children’s Theatre will hold hip hop lessons in the Kids Zone, which will be followed by performances by a variety of community groups. Corn and the Colonels plan to lead a “roots jam” at Fullsteam Brewery. Band member Aaron Greenhood encouraged residents to bring their instruments and participate.

“It’s more than a performance. It is a happening. We are bringing people together to celebrate and make joyful sounds,” Greenhood said. “We have been inviting all of our acquaintances to bring their instruments. We are just going to have a get down. … I would love to have anybody come and play whatever they want.”

Seven Stars Cycles will be on Geer Street next to Motorco Music Hall to provide a free valet service for bike riders. Adrian Fletcher, who is working to open Seven Stars Cycles in the downtown area, said he hopes the bike shop’s service will encourage people to ride their bike to the event.

“We will give them a ticket that identifies their bike,” then we will wheel it to a secure area, Fletcher said. “I just saw an opportunity with this event to remove the concern that someone is going to mess with their bike as an excuse to not ride down there.”

Need more information? Want to volunteer, or buy a wedding package? Go to

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