The artistic event aims to introduce downtown to other members of Fayetteville

A local community member wants to revive the Fayetteville he remembers as a kid with Sunday on the Square, a community event featuring art and music.

The city-native Rakeem Jones, 31, remembers his mother keeping him out of trouble when he was young by taking him to the plaza on Hay Street on Sunday.

The community event began in 1973 as the annual Spring Arts Festival fundraiser for the Fayetteville / Cumberland County Arts Council before merging with the Dogwood Festival. The event ended in 2000.

“I just feel like it’s one of the things the city needs this summer,” Jones said. “People want to go out, but there’s not much to do when you go out. So I just want to be able to create something, especially for the kids.”

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According to Deborah Mintz, former executive director of the Arts Council, Sunday on the Square took place around the Market House and was designed in squares.

Mintz said the event will feature six to eight performances from various musical genres such as country, rock and rap, and include various exhibits. Mintz described it as “a major event”.

Jones said the event is particularly significant now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

“It’s kind of like a reminder to the city of what we had and the culture we actually had before the shutdown,” Jones said. “We used to have fun here, so let’s have fun.”

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Jones said it was important for him to offer this event to young people. He sees children who have nothing to do as the cause of spikes in crime.

“If it hadn’t been for my mother taking me to these kinds of events and just taking me out of the neighborhood and showing me something different, (I don’t know) where I would be”, said he declared. “I want to be able to do this for my sons and someone else’s sons and daughters.”

Jones’ version of Sunday on the Square takes place on July 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Festival Park and will feature live art, musical performances, vendors and free food.

Jones brought in community members to help organize the event, such as salon owner Anubis Hookah, Heart and Soul Café, and Hair Salon Natural Genius.

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He said he hopes to connect other people with the downtown area.

“It’s about presenting the downtown crowd to a different demographic,” he said.

Editor-in-chief Akira Kyles can be reached at [email protected]

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