The Seaboard Festival is a time for fun, music and loads of amazing food, but the after-party is a way for the good times to continue long after the festival is over.
J.W. Mask Jr. Alumni Chapter, based in Hamlet, and Hamlet Chapter 1, based in Washington D.C., will be sponsoring their annual Seaboard Festival After-Party.
The after-party is a fundraising event where people come together to dance, socialize, eat and honor members of the community. It will take place after the Seaboard Festival from 9 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday at East Hamlet Community Center.
The organizations are nonprofits and have dedicated their time and efforts to raising money to give back to the community in various ways.
Daniel Bernard Manning, a member of the J.W. Mask Jr. Alumni Chapter, said proceeds of the event assist the group to do good deeds around the community.
“We take the money we raise and put it where it needs to go,” Manning said. “For instance we help fund scholarships for local students to help them in school.”
The after-party was an idea thought up four years ago after serving food during the festival wasn’t a success in raising money.
“We wanted to do a fundraiser during the festival,” Manning said. “So we set up a stand and sold hamburgers and hotdogs. It didn’t go very well because everyone else at the festival was selling food.”
That was when the idea of hosting a party after the festival came to mind.
“It’s such a big day for the town and sometimes people don’t want it to be over,” Manning said. “So we let them go home and get comfortable so they can come back for some dancing and food.”
During the after-party, you can see people dressed up in the old-fashion railroad attire with blue overalls, a red scarf and a hat to complete the ensemble.
Manning said the after-party this year will be honoring past Seaboard workers from the black community.
“We have collected around 300 names of people who we want to recognize,” Manning said.
The Seaboard was a life saver to the community, Manning said. It gave jobs to everyone.
“My father, my brother, my brother-in-law, my uncle — they all worked for the Seaboard,” Manning said. “Way back then the Seaboard also gave jobs to teachers during the summer time. Teachers now get paid during the summer, but back then they didn’t get paid, so the Seaboard was there to help support their families.”
One individual that the organizations really want to recognize is a man by the name of Ray Doctor.
Ray Doctor, 92, was a worker for the Seaboard and the first black union representative, Manning said. He was heavily involved in the black community and is one of the oldest workers still living from the time where the railroad was booming.
“When the railroad stopped here, the town changed drastically,” Manning said. “But we still want to take a moment to recognize those that were working during that time.”
The East Hamlet Community Center is located at 155 Laurel Hill St. in Hamlet. There will be a scholarship fundraiser and music will be provided by D.J. EZ Hutch. Tickets will be $12 at the door.