Aside from being an occasion to show community pride, Saturday's Marry Durham event was also a fund raiser - and raise funds it did. The event asked attendees to make minimum donations of $5 per person; however, larger "wedding packages" could be purchased for those who would/could donate more. The packages included things like logo cow bells, wedding certificates, and t shirts, too.
Five Durham non-profit organizations are the recipients of the funds, and the hope was to raise $12,000. That goal was missed, missed because it was exceeded by over $13,000...missed because it was shattered by the generosity of those in attendance which was estimated at 2,500 people. The opportunity to give has not passed--donations are still coming in--so the total is likely to continue to rise.
This event smacks of Durham as a place. Often lauded for being open, accepting, and entrepreneurial, Saturday's gathering of citizenry to appreciate one another and the community they create is precisely the type of thing that makes Durham so, well, Durham.
"The event was produced completely by a local group," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "That sort of organic outpouring of community engagement is one of the many things that make Durham such a great place to be."
"The Royal Couple (William and Kate, ya know, THE Royal Couple) have asked that all their wedding gifts be donated - they might have been following the example we set here in Durham. In Durham, when we combine good deeds and good times, people will give," said Katherine O'Brien, one of the event's "wedding" planners. "The event was about many things, but one that we can all look back on with pride is the generosity of the folks that make this place great," she added.