Honoring the past and marching into the future Inside: Island of Spies, Farmville Rebranded,
WN O O
L i ve . Wo r k . G row Vibrant shops, safe neighborhoods, family events, and a state-of-the-art library — Farmville is a small town with a big quality of life. Come visit, play and stay!
of Spies: World War II 4 Island Outer Banks backdrop for latest mystery by Farmville’s Shelia Turnage
bon repas: Detour to Café 9 Un Madeline discovers a French delight in every bite.
rebranded: New logo, 12 Farmville website and marketing campaign aim to capture tradition, sell the future
for the arts: A new gallery 18 Space beside the Paramount theater will provide space for exhibitions, intermissions and more
What’s new: Art trail, pavilion 24 among new amenities for residents and guests.
banking: Small staff 26 Community at Southern Bank makes a big impact through community service.
Cafe: Operating 32 Bonnie’s Farmville’s historic eatery is a labor
of love for resident and restauranteur Tommy Brady
Shelia Turnage holds her latest novel for young people, “Island of Spies,” during a visit to the Farmville Public Library. Photos by Willow Abbey Mercando
Island of Spies World War II Outer Banks backdrop for latest mystery by Farmville’s Shelia Turnage By Kim Grizzard
Believe it or not, when best-selling author Sheila Turnage first got the idea for her latest middle-grade novel, she was just a fourth-grader herself. Walking along a Hatteras Island beach with her father, then 9-yearold Turnage saw something black and shiny that drew her attention. Former Navy serviceman A.C. Turnage didn’t need to embellish the story to whet his daughter’s curiosity; the truth would do just fine. It was oil that had continued to leak for years from ships sunk off the island during World War II. “He said, ‘That’s part of our secret history,’” Turnage recalled. “I think he also mentioned spies, and it’s like the hook was set.” 4
A trip to the Outer Banks when Turnage was 9 planted the seed that would grow into the “Island of Spies” story.
But it would be several decades before she would land this one. The 384-page mystery, “Island of Spies” was released Sept. 20. “This has been in the works for a
very long time,” Turnage, 68, said, explaining that once she began the project, the coronavirus pandemic caused what is generally a two-year process to extend to three and a half years. “But I think it was worth the
“This isn’t a war story. World War II is simply the backstory for ‘Island of Spies,’ which is about three young friends trying to track down a spy on Hatteras Island. This is also a book about the importance of family and fathers in particular. It’s about three friends learning to stand up for themselves and learning they can always count on each other.”
– Author Shelia Turnage of Farmville wait.” Set in 1942 on Hatteras Island, it is inspired by true stories of U-boat bombings off the Outer Banks. So numerous were the German attacks on Allied shipping vessels that the region earned the nickname Torpedo Junction. Though the onslaught occurred years before Turnage was born, she would later hear the stories of ships burning at sea. News reports of the assaults, which began about six
weeks after Pearl Harbor, were classified. So while island residents were instructed to keep their house lights off at night to keep from lighting the way for the enemy, many Americans were in the dark about what was happening. “I’ve always been intrigued by World War II ... because it changed so much for our country,” Turnage said. “(But) this isn’t a war story. World War II is simply the backstory for
‘Island of Spies,’ which is about three young friends trying to track down a spy on Hatteras Island. This is also a book about the importance of family and fathers in particular. It’s about three friends learning to stand up for
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Turnage wrote four novels for the Mo and Dale mystery series, with the first, “Three Times Lucky,” earning a Newberry Honor and other awards.
themselves and learning they can always count on each other.” Turnage, who remembers climbing to the top of Hatteras Lighthouse when she was about the age of the Dime Novel Kids detectives in “Island of Spies,” has always loved the history of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Graveyard of the Atlantic. “So this has been perking in the back of my mind for a long time. But it didn’t really occur to me to use it as a backstory for a book until I really started thinking about what I wanted to write next. “It’s just been a slow accumulation,” she said, chuckling to herself, “kind of like lint.” Now what kind of writer rolls out a simile about lint to describe a part of the creative process? An award-winning one. Turnage, known for her love of metaphor and 6
her Southern wit, saw her 2012 novel, “Three Times Lucky,” go on to become a Newbery Honor Book, a New York Times best-seller, an E.B. White ReadAloud Honor Book and an Edgar Award finalist. It was the first of four titles
in the celebrated Mo and Dale Mystery series, which features the adventures of sixth-grade detectives Mo LoBeau and best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III in the fictional North Carolina town of Tupelo Landing. The series re-
mains popular four years after the publication of the final installment, “The Law of Finders Keepers.” “People cried,” Turnage said of the announcement the beloved Desperado Detectives were closing their last case.
Farmville Public Library is among many that carry all of Turnage’s novels for young readers.
The author also went through a grieving period of sorts. After all, she had spent the better part of a decade with these characters. “I loved Mo and Dale,” she said. “It was hard to leave them, so it took a
little while. I think that’s another reason this book took a little longer. I needed a little bit of time to shift gears and think.” While she had the Hatteras Island storyline in mind, Turnage needed to take some time to frame
this work of historical fiction and to develop the voices of a new cast of characters. Like Mo from the earlier series, Sarah Stickley Lawson is spirited and headstrong. The 12-yearold, known as “Stick,” is a
would-be detective, along with friends Neb and Rain. Stick has aspirations of becoming a scientist, an uncommon career choice for women in the 1940s. “We never think about that (now). Of course, you can be a scientist,”
Keep Alcohol Out of the Hands of Kids 7
The pandemic stopped Turnage from visiting schools and libraries to meet fans and promote her books. She’s happy to be get back out on the road with “Island of Spies.”
Turnage said. “But that, alone, was enough to make her odd in this time period.” The character is modeled after Turnage’s mother, Vivian Taylor Turnage, a longtime Farmville physics and chemistry teacher. The character of Rain is loosely based on artist Minnie Evans, who grew up near Wilmington. Rain and her mother live in a wine cask that washed ashore on Hatteras, an idea surprisingly inspired by an old photograph. Because Rain is biracial, Turnage is able to explore themes of segregation and racial tension from this turning point in history. “All these characters change because the war 8
makes them change, but they’re able to hold on to who they are,” she said. “(It’s) just like the pandemic has changed us, but we’ve held on to who we are.” In early 2020, Turnage and her husband, Rodney Beasley, had just returned from Florida, where she was conducting an educational workshop on the Mo and Dale Mystery series just before much of the country shut down. The coronavirus pandemic ended school visits the author had been making for nearly a decade. Soft-spoken and shy by nature, she had initially assumed that she would not enjoy standing in front of a group of students to discuss her work, but the
opposite turned out to be true. “I love doing school visits,” she said. “It did make me sad when that stopped. I think it made a lot of writers sad not to have that exchange. I really missed that. … It wasn’t detrimental to this book, but it was detrimental to my heart.” Had “Island of Spies” been completed six months earlier, Turnage said, she would not have been doing any in-person school visits. But with virus-related restrictions lifted and presale orders from schools and libraries across the country, she is looking forward to return-
ing to classrooms this fall. “Talking to kids gives me so much hope for our future because they’re so smart and they’re so engaging and they’re so energetic,” she said. “It is amazing how many kids already know they’re writers. I can tell when they raise their hand from the question they ask. They’re writing novels. They’re just unbelievable.” “Island of Spies” is published by Dial Books for Young Readers. For more information about author Sheila Turnage, visit sheilaturnage.com or www. facebook.com/SheilaTurnage.Author.
Un bon repas Detour to Café Madeline discovers a French delight in every bite. By Renee Skudra
On a rainy and severely overcast Sunday on the trip to New Bern, I could not stop thinking about a NC’s North Carolina Weekend about a French The reviewer had spoken ecstatically about its absolutely “divine” food and, on a stretch of highway nearing that town, I suddenly decided
I would not be dissuad the inordinately high price of gas by the rest
good fortune of being “right as rain” about by this place was a case in chief — I knew it was
Once we were seated, the owner, Coleen Star ling, in a great show of Café Madeline owner Coleen Starling, here with guest Nils Skudra, is head chef and baker and a gracious host at the bakery at 3699 E. Wilson St.
at length as well as good
taught baker “with delu sions of grandeur,” she opened the business al ing in French pastries and
our driver to take a detour threw in all the theatrics
neighborhood but didn’t boast a single French Coleen assured us that plenary and pleasing to our eyes — sand arons, espresso drinks, and international wines replete with the option of
and falling in love with a
ing the creation all the all three orders arrived on the table, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry sheer visual beauty of it
outskirts, her husband and ing you that Indian curry
Minutes later, quietly reveling in the fact that I pretty and unpretentious brick front in a historic neighborhood with the words “Café Madeleine”
Raleigh with the hope of and throwing that town’s
of desserts were long since gone but we were regaled by the idea of a a croissant/French toast
The business eventually
held court over the whole
raspberries, blackberries and strawberries in a decadent Grand Marnier
Whether this was a ticularly a dessert I do not know, but I can say with the best sweet thing I At times like this, 9
sitting in a French cafe, my mind returns to the French I heard spoken in my home by my Paris-raised mother. “Un bon repas adoucit l’esprit et regenere le corps” (a good meal softens the mind and regenerates the body, nourishing the soul). This croissant/French toast was really too good to be true. When I returned to Greensboro, I ran across the saying in a food magazine: “Desserts are the sweet threads of the warp and weft of our lives” by someone named Nicolette M. Dumke. I had never heard of her but she sure got that right! I can say without reservation that everybody
The croissant/French toast mixed berry compote comprised of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries in a decadent Grand Marnier filled sauce, all topped by mountains of house-made whipped cream.
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needs to go to this darling little place in Farmville where everything is scratch-made and clearly prepared with bounteous shots of love. Coleen herself is a doll. Chatty and warm, she contributed so much to our consumption of a delicious meal in a sweet and unprepossessing setting. Learn a lesson from my family though — don’t wait until the last minute to drop by. Café Madeline is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Be at the ready to buy anything there since everything is simply so yummy and please (if you will) spread the word about this wonderful establishment in Farmville which delivers some French delight in every bite. About the author:
Renee Skudra of Greensboro is a transplant to North Caroli-
Renee Skudra, the author, in a snapshot with her beloved bichon frise, Beauregard after he jumped headfirst into a mud puddle.
na from the San Francisco Bay area. She picked up a law degree in her travels and worked in the profession for a while but always
knew in her heart that her true love was writing and by gosh, that was the road that really feels right as rain.
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Todd Edwards of the Farmville Group, a partnership of business people who work to boost the town, said rebranding is a big thing to tackle but it needed to be done. “This is just a rallying point for Farmville,” he said.
Farmville’s new logo, which will adorn entry signs in the coming weeks, takes its cue from the orginal seal in concept and shape in an updated “F,” said designer Scott Laumann.
Farmville rebranded New logo, website and marketing campaign aim to capture tradition, sell the future By Donna Williams
An initiative between the Town of Farmville and the Farmville Group is relaunching marketing efforts for the town with a new rebranding campaign. Known for its rich tradition in agriculture, religion, industry and small-town charm, the new campaign will move in a more contemporary direction while honoring the significance of Farmville’s historical strengths. “We have always wanted to preserve our history and not forget our past, but we are a different town than we used to be. There are a lot of new things going on in Farmville,” said town manager David Hodgkins. Mayor John Moore said the town 12
The new design will be unveiled on welcome signs and elsewhere across town in the coming weeks.
recently celebrated its 150-year anniversary. “As we begin our next 150 years, this gives us a fresh, new look for Farmville. It lets us know
that we are moving forward while we are looking after the traditions of Farmville. This allows folks to see all the great things Farmville has
going for it.” A DECADE OF GROWTH In the past 10 years, community members have
seen the town blossom from vacant stores and streets to a busy hub, rich with community, businesses, and the arts, Hodgkins said.
“There used to be a fair number of vacant storefronts that were in need of updating or repair in the last 10 years or so. We have been aggressive with facade and other grant programs that have facilitated renovations of vacant spaces. Now Farmville’s downtown is in demand with people wanting to relocate to it from out-of-town and other parts of town,” Hod-
gkins said. Farmville also has enjoyed a renaissance of the arts and has added murals everywhere that reflect the town’s culture. Its unique downtown has attracted artisan shops such as Café Madeline, a french bakery, Lanoca Coffee Institute and the N.C. Furniture School. The town also is host to the ECU GlasStation, which teaches the art of glassblowing, provides a workspace for artisans and sells their works in a retail shop. The town’s newly constructed public library also is a draw. “It’s one of Farmville’s biggest economic engines. It brings people to town
Fans and residents who want to show off their Farmville pride will be able to purchase T-shirts and other apparel that feature the new logo.
who then go and visit other businesses,” Moore said, adding that the town will soon have a new stateof-the-art fire department as well. As downtown has revived, Farmville also has seen an increased demand for housing. Its unique three-school campus also has attracted more residents to the area, Moore said. The town has been proactive in securing grants and funding to improve its infrastructure including replacing old sewer and water lines while enhancing its walkability and ADA compliance so that all residents may safely enjoy the town for years to come,
officials said. Farmville Parks and Recreation has seen a boost in enrollment with the addition of programs designed for all ages. TELLING A STORY With all the growth and change, the town and the Farmville Group were compelled to tell the community’s story beyond the town limits. “A lot of people have talked about rebranding for years. We were even part of some efforts early on. A lot of folks have tried to tackle it, but it’s a big thing to tackle,” said Todd Edwards, member of the Farmville Group and owner of Todd D. Edwards Construction.
“This is just a rallying point for “Farmville,” he said. Farmville has improved so much over the past few years. It’s really coming into its own. The biggest thing is telling the story to the rest of the world. We want to lay the framework to tell the world how great Farmville is.” To tell the story, the Farmville group hired Scott Laumann, a graphic designer and marketing specialist. Being a new resident to Farmville, Laumann was able to look at the town as an outsider and with a new perspective. Like many, Laumann was unaware of Farmville’s story before moving to the area
in 2020. After relocating from Colorado with his wife for work, the Laumanns lived temporarily in Greenville. “We decided on the fly to drive to Farmville and see the town. We didn’t hear a whole lot about it and couldn’t find a lot of information about it,” Laumann said. “When we drove in, my wife and I were immediately surprised by its character … It’s a small town with all these cool things. After that drive, we felt we needed to be here.” With Laumann at the helm, members of the Farmville Group, town leaders, business people and community members
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The new logo will be incorporated into town symbols. The elemental shapes – rectangle, quarter and half circles and circle – “create an updated, yet timeless look” Laumann said.
began to work through Farmville’s rich history to cultivate a brand that would aptly represent the town. “A big part of the process was to look at the history of the logo. One of the things we found in doing research was that Farmville had all these features that have existed for decades here, agriculture, industry, religion and history,” Laumann said. After some initial revisions, Laumann began to experiment with the logo. “The final logo represents a simple, sophisticated and iconic solution. It takes its cue from and reimagines
the original seal in concept and shape in an updated ‘F.’ The elemental shapes – rectangle, quarter and half circles and circle – create an updated, yet timeless look that works at small or large scale and in color and monochrome,” Laumann said. “Its qualities obliquely reflect that foundational concept of agriculture and culture with a green rectangle for agriculture and an orange sun illuminating a blue open sky and yellow optimistic future.” A unified color scheme was also chosen for the rebranding initiative. “The green and yellow, which were featured in the historic Farmville seal, have been slightly reimagined in different tones. Green is primary, with accent colors in orange and two shades
of blue. The colors are symbolic of the topography and surrounding area in all seasons,” Laumann said. Laumann also saw a need to increase the town’s digital presence and suggested the creation of a visitor’s website. The site would offer the town a customized site, allowing visitors, residents and everyone in the world an opportunity to see the businesses, community and happenings of Farmville. With this thought, visitfarmvillenc.com was created and has been a source for Farmville-related information for visitors. “It is very important to get that established and continue with that for people who want to visit,” Laumann said.
“We wanted to put together a site that showcases the character and personality that represents Farmville.” BEST FOOT FORWARD Along with a logo and visitor’s website, the rebranding initiative includes a phased system to incorporate the logo and marketing schemes into daily life. Changes are coming to decals throughout the town, wayfinding signage, new clothing for employees and for purchase, banners and more. In August, Farmville commissioners approved the first phase of implementation. Phase one includes signage for the
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town’s three entrances, directional signs at Town Hall and cemetery signs. Decals on town-owned vehicles and town offices will also be included. New banners will also be seen throughout the town. In later phases, the town will add murals at the splash pad, Farmville Municipal Recreation Complex and on the former hardware store, with more coming. “We wanted to break up the rebranding initiative into doable chunks. We wanted to concentrate on areas that would be the most visible initially and within our budget,” Hodgkins said. So far, the rebranding initiative has been suc-
cessful in garnering grants from the Greenville-ENC Alliance and community entities such as the Farmville Group. “It’s all a cooperative effort. But we’re trying to do it in pieces so we don’t rush anything and we can stand back and say hey we’ve done this and then gauge the impact,” Hodgkins said, adding town funds and additional funding sources will be sought. The power of marketing and the power it holds is a familiar concept with Pharmville Drug owner, Staci Garner. Garner, a Farmville native, opened Pharmville Drug in July 2020 after transforming an old
downtown storefront into to a modern and beautiful destination. Coupled with good service, word-of-mouth customer satisfaction and a strong social media footprint, Pharmville Drug has been able to grow and prosper, Garner said. “We’ve had people from different towns come and shop with us just from our social media and word getting out. I’ve seen
people wearing our shirts in Raleigh and we’ve had customers from Raleigh,” Garner said, adding she has seen people wearing her merchandise on the coast as well. “It makes me feel really happy. My heart and soul is in the store and I enjoy what I do there. There is always something new to look at and new to look into. It’s very exciting to know people like what you
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A new website, visitfarmvillenc.com, is an integral part of the new marketing campaign along with the new logo, signage, social media and more.
Street post banners with the new logo and design will welcome shoppers and visitors.
have created.” Garner is excited about the changes taking place in the town and has been a part of the process. “I’m happy to be a part of it. The town is going for a more modern look,” Garner said. The change in Farmville has been well received and much energy, and effort has been put forth to better the town. With new rebranding and marketing campaigns, the town
and people involved are all hopeful the Town of Farmville will continue to prosper. “I hope that this instills in people pride and attracts attention from folks outside of the area so that they may want to learn more about Farmville. We are putting the community and our best foot forward by trying to show folks all the great things about Farmville.” Hodgkins said. 17
The Paramount Theater on Main Street is home to the Farmville Community Art Council, which opened the Emily Monk Davidson Gallery next door on Sept. 9. Photos by Willow Abbey Mercando
Space for the arts A new gallery beside the Paramount Theater provides accessible space for exhibitions, intermissions and more By Emily Bronson
A new space adjacent to the Paramount Theater will give Farmville more room and accessibility to grow its love affair with the arts, supporters and advocates said. The Farmville Community Arts Council opened the newest addition to the 100-year-old theater on Main Street on Sept. 9 with the help of a community development 18
block grant. Fred Austin, a longtime member and president of the council, said the gallery was created with art accessibility in mind. Before construction started for the new wing of the theater, the bathrooms were not accessible to wheelchair-bound individuals. “The door, and how wide it is, it is 23 inches,” Austin said. “So anything
Farmville Community Arts Council President Fred Austin points to photos of the renovation process at the gallery.
100 years old is accessible to nobody with special needs. Accessibility didn’t exist 100 years ago. It’s
been a problem of ours (the Community Arts Council’s) trying to figure out how to cater to more
Austin said the arts should be accessible to everyone and the gallery will make that happen in Farmville.
folks who might be in a wheelchair or might need assistance.” The council applied for the grant to help fund the $350,000 construction project with concerns for accessibility in mind, Austin said. The new space is in a building the arts council owned, Austin said. However, the building was rarely used and it was not connected to the theater from the inside. “It wasn’t very well utilized,” Austin said. “So we found the grant through the town of Farmville. We were always in want of a nice art gallery space and the opportunity came up
through the grant.” The federal community block grant provided 80 percent of the funding needed for the project, while the Community Arts Council was responsible for coming up with the other 20 percent. A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the community effort to raise the funds, including naming the gallery for benefactor Emily Monk Davidson, who helped significantly in the effort, Austin said. “This wonderful lady said ‘let’s get it done, let’s do it!’” Austin said. “So she pushed us up the hill to get this done.” As the newest addition 19
to downtown Farmville, the Emily Monk Davidson Gallery will benefit everyone, Austin said. While it directly benefits the arts council, the gallery will add to the town’s already bustling art scene, he said. Lori Drake, the executive director of the Farmville Chamber of Commerce said the Paramount Theater is used to promote Farmville as a community of the arts. “We’re always excited when there’s a renovation of an existing building and especially this building because in 2021 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Paramount Theater,” Drake said. “Less than a year later, we’re
Austin points to a photo of a doorway taken before the renovation. Doors were widened to accommodate wheelchairs.
doing these major renovations.” The community continues to grow and thrive,
Drake said. Within the past year, the growth on Main Street has been tremendous, and the theater
addition adds to that as well, she said. Something that the gallery adds to the Par-
Austin shakes hands with Farrior & Sons Inc. contractor Scott Fussell during a final walkthrough of the renovations.
amount Theater is a meeting place during intermissions of shows, Drake said. Compared to
the existing small lobby of the theater, she said the new space will give audience members the
�e Farmville Community Arts Council Your local home for performing and visual arts Home of the Annual Ghost Walk each October www.farmville-arts.org www.facebook.com/farmvillearts
ability to mingle with others during breaks of the theatrical performances produced by the arts council at the Paramount. “I think it (the gallery) directly benefits many people and many groups of people,” Drake said. “It definitely benefits the Farmville Community Arts Council because they will be able to provide more opportunities for people to see and enjoy the visual arts; they also have made it more available to handicapped people.” Local businesses provided much of the expertise to carry out the renovation, including Farrior & Sons construction and McDavid Associates engineering. The Neighborhood Revitalization block grant
funding funded work to remove architectural barriers and construct handicap-accessible restrooms to serve the facility, said Mike Barnette, the project manager from McDavid Associates. Work includes the construction of the restrooms in the annex building and providing access from the theater to the annex, he said. Linda Adele Goodine, a member of the Community Arts Council and a long-time art educator, said art is an important thing in everyone’s lives. With that, art accessibility is something that she is proud that Farmville is prioritizing through this addition of the Paramount Theater. “Lots of people think that art is hard to understand or it’s just for 21
Austin, with Fussell, right, and Chris Cruz, left, look at the space and lighting at the gallery.
people who have lots of leisure time,” Goodine said. “Actually, art enriches everyone that comes in contact with it
because strong art is like a window into the world, the world of the soul and the imagination.” As a life-long cre-
ator, Goodine said after moving to Farmville in 2015 she was eager to get involved in the local arts scene.
“So if you have a city with the kind of history that Farmville does of appreciation for culture and the arts, to have the
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Austin stands on a ramp that will allow wheelchairs to access the gallery from the Paramount Theater as contractor Chris Cruz, right, looks at a photo display of the work.
doors open and the windows open to this space for people to see that ‘You can exhibit in this space, this is your space.’ I love that,” Goodine said. The development of any communi-
ty, not just Farmville, relies on spaces like the new gallery and the Paramount Theater, Goodine said. Art and culture promote growth within all communities, she said.
The new gallery in Farmville is going to offer new opportunities for all types of art to all types of people, Goodine said, “Build it and they will come.”
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What’s new Art trail, pavilion among added amenities for residents and guests An art gallery at the Paramount Theater is among several new additions to town, including an interactive art trail and a community pavilion. ARTS TRAIL Farmville leaders unveiled the town’s downtown Art Trail on June 2 during a ceremony at the H.B. Sugg mural and pocket park. The trail shows off colorful murals,
The new Nathan R. Cobb Pavilion opened Sept. 8 and will be available for use by the community for a variety of events. Photos by Abbey Willow Mercando
ghost signs and sculptures scattered throughout the
downtown district. Each stop includes a QR code
that links to audio clips explaining the pieces for visitors on self-guided tours.
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Alma Cobb Hobbs, town commissioner and president of the Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Foundation, speaks in June at the H.B. Sugg School mural during the opening of the Farmville Art Trail. The Cobb Foundation also opened a new community pavilion in September.
Maps are available at the Farmville Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center, 3747 S. Main St. Chamber Director Lori Drake said her favorite
stop on the trail is the Purina Chow mural, painted on a building that formerly served as a feed and seed warehouse for the Turnage Company and
now is home to Farmville Hardware Co. The mural includes a red and white checkerboard design that dates back to the original 1934
building. A chicken and pig were added, because they were “reminiscent of some of the other Purina Chow signs that were common in the mid-20th century,” town booster Todd Edwards explains in the accompanying audio clip. “This sign has become a cornerstone image of Farmville’s rebirth,” the clip states. The trail also features stops at the ArtSpace and GlasStation and the historic Paramount Theater. COBB PAVILION
The Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Foundation Community Pavilion opened on Sept. 8 at 3876 S. Walnut St. The outdoor event venue will be used for foundation events and will be
available for community
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gatherings. “We want to add value to Farmville,” says Alma
C. Hobbs, foundation president and daughter of the late Nathan R. Cobb Sr. “We plan to rent it out to community groups and the proceeds will help us provide more scholarships, which is one of the mission programs of the foundation.
Financed through a USDA Rural Development grant, the structure will provide an outdoor area for people to gather as well as an enclosed space that houses a kitchen, restrooms and storage area to help facilitate a variety of events. COMING UP Ghost Walk Farmville Community Arts Council will host its second Farmville Ghost Walk in October. The event will include guided tours to visit with local specters portrayed by some of the community’s best dramatists. Staggered tours run from 7-9 p.m. on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-29 from 6-9 p.m. There will be an indoor performance for those who are less ambulatory at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26. Tours will begin at the Monk Art Gallery, 3725 N. Main St., with reservations required for groups 15 or larger at farmville-arts.org. The council also is planning an Evening with Poe at the Paramount Theater at 7 p.m. Oct. 6-7 and 3 p.m. Oct. 9. 26
Trick or Treat The Town of Farmville will host its third annual Halloween Trick or Treat from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 31. This old-fashioned Halloween event will be held all over Farmville at participating businesses and homes. A list of participating homes and businesses will be available closer to the event. Follow the event at https://fb.me/e/3stNS5aK3. Tree Lighting Town boosters will host the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Walter B. Jones Town Common and it will feature Christmas music, food, activities for the children and a visit from Santa Claus. Taste of Farmville Come shop and experience the wonders of Christmas during Taste of Farmville from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 in downtown Farmville. Enjoy extended shopping hours, refreshments and music from local merchants. Christmas Parade The town’s annual Christmas parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. Parade applications can be found at farmvillenc.gov. For more information about Town of Farmville events, find us on Facebook, Instagram or sign-up for the town’s newsletter.
SERVING EASTERN CAROLINA FOR OVER 115 YEARS
Banking on community Team at Southern Bank serves Farmville inside and outside the branch By Beyonca Mewborn
The culture of Southern Bank fosters
believer and supporter that its branches
“And by having our locations in the we’re able to be a part of what goes on in everyday life, and we all know life will throw you a curve because there’s Sharon York, Hunter Cannon, Pam Justice, Kearney Long and Barbara Allen, from left, are the team at Southern Bank in Farmville. Photos by Beyonca Mewborn
She said that she hopes that because she grew up, went to school here, and “It is very rewarding and I hope what year and a half, is the freshest face there but said he is very active outside of the bank coaching baseball with several kids
they’ll grow up to be better adults and town what it was when she was growing Barbara Allen has been in banking service representative for Southern Bank
pride ourselves in taking care of our
Sharon York has been with Southern Bank for about 10 years; she left and
she said that she volunteers for a lot of with her children’s church youth group and volunteers for local fundraisers like
greeted with a friendly face, but they’re and that they’ve gotten to know over the want to invest in the town that they’re in because then the town reciprocates and Cannon said he played baseball grow you know that’s why we want to give than playing ever was and he gets to see the kids grow not only as players but
in Ayden and has been overseeing activities at the year, lending support as a
because she has friends and
that’s how they really got to
their voices on the phone, I “I work on the Dogwood
was with Southern, they
inside the bank, so it’s like
with the festival every year and I’ve been doing that
Southern Bank branch in notes, keep in touch with what was happening in the
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This pavilion is available for individuals and groups to rent. The Nathan R. Cobb, Sr. Foundation Inc. provides financial assistance for scholarships, families in distress, and spiritual education. The vision is making a difference in the Farmville community.
Long, operations manager in Farmville, takes leading roles in the community, including serving on the Library Board, the chamber of commerce and the Dogwood Festival committee.
crafts, the outside vendors and all of the the weather was perfect, we had huge crowds, and I think that people really
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Budget conscious? Looking for luxury? Connie Moore Corey has the home for you! Justice, left, speaks with customer service rep Barbara Allen in Farmville. A Farmville native and branch manager in Ayden, Justice says teams like the one in Farmville connect Southern Bank to the community.
a little girl living in Warren ton, she read every book in
because of being at Southern Bank, she’s very visible in the
“I started at one end and went all the way through ev ery book off of every shelf,” new businesses, we need to genealogy, and for lots of dif ed so that we have a good downtown business relation ship, and they do work well
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Bonnie’s Cafe staff serves up lunches in the kitchen for hungry patrons in the dining room. Photos by Willow Abbey Mercando
Labor of love Tommy Brady Sr. keeps Bonnie’s running with good food and dedication By Ariyanna Smith
Running Bonnie’s Cafe is a labor of love for
the cafe for nearly 30 years before selling it to
resident and restauranteur
it until 2014 when the
this piece of the town’s history alive for as long
weathered the building
The beloved cafe is District on North Main Street, a place described
Brady said he had been asked to reopen the cafe, but he only agreed after agreed to renovate the
was opened by Randolph “Bonnie” Allen and his was retired so I did it as a 32
Bonnie’s Cafe owner Tommy Brady enjoys cooking and runs the business, in part, to maintain a beloved institution.
Renovations to the kitchen and dining room were completed in 2020. Developers felt it was important to keep the cafe’s lunch counter and downhome atmosphere.
ys later opened a seafood Brady inherited his barbecued pigs for the Al lens before he opened his own restaurant in town,
restaurant business and
he worked until retire
Brady was eager to revive the town’s cafe when the renovation at the start of 2020, after
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reintroduced patrons to
One of the renovation priorities was to keep as acter of the cafe intact counter and the original side dining area called the Additionally, a nod to the Allen and Brady
Brady is bringing you cooking and the traditions
A small staff helps treat regulars to good cooking that includes daily specials like chicken and pastry, turkey and dressing and country style steak.
would signal the start of Brady hadn’t antici
the restaurant business
blow caused by the pan
savings to keep it alive, all I could really do was
“If I was trying to
after opening that the
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C E L E B R AT I N G O V E R 6 6 Y E A R S
workers and Brady is the run the business, so he “My son is too busy to take it on, and I want to who knows how to do it so that when I bail out, But, nobody has stepped Despite the hardships,
One of the highlights to be creative with his which are known to chicken pastry, fried tenderloin, turkey and dressing, country style and ends every now and The plates are available
cafe for the past nearly
like hot dogs, burgers,
and everybody knows
of Bonnie’s, Brady says that he hopes the cafe will
where to go, they can
“Really, it could be 12
who is going to keep it cooking — he doesn’t even have a favorite dish
The renovations maintained the main dining area and counter and the original side dining area called the “Ruby Room.”