PEMBROKE — The 49th annual Lumbee Homecoming is rebooted on Friday, and it doesn’t slow down until the parade and fireworks on July 8.
The event began last week with the rebirth of “Strike at the Wind!”, and begins its final push Friday with the fifth annual Julian Pierce Memorial Art Dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Annex.
Pierce was a Lumbee lawyer who was running for Superior Court judge when he was murdered in 1988. Proceeds from the art show funds scholarships for students at UNCP, Robeson Community College, and the North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Homecoming brings thousands back to their roots in Pembroke and Robeson County, with the parade alone attracting between 10,000 and 20,000 people to a celebration that has something for everyone — veterans, athletes, elders, foodies, shoppers and more.
Lumbee Homecoming’s primary sponsor since 1968 has been the Lumbee Regional Development Association. The two-week event has grown so large that programs also are sponsored by UNCP, the town of Pembroke and the Lumbee Tribe.
“Lumbee Homecoming will always be about pride and heritage,” said James Hardin, LRDA executive director. “The Town of Pembroke and UNCP are at the center of Lumbee Homecoming, and they are great partners and hosts for many events that showcase the Lumbee people’s amazing heritage.”
Saturday’s highlights include an early morning bicycle ride and the annual golf tournament at Pinecrest Country Club. Register for the 20-mile bike ride at 6:15 a.m. Friday at the LRDA Complex on Prospect Road. The ride begins at 7:15 a.m.
Registration at Pinecrest Country Club in Lumberton is at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. A luncheon will be held at noon.
Pageant week begins Sunday with the farewell tea for outgoing 2016-17 Lumbee Ambassadors at 3 p.m. in Berea Baptist Church, across from UNCP. Saying goodbye are Little Miss Lumbee Kamryn Paige Locklear; Junior Miss Lumbee Kaloni Skye Walton; Teen Miss Lumbee Kenda Brooke Hunt; and Miss Lumbee Lindsay Kristian Oxendine.
The Senior Ms. Lumbee Pageant is 6 p.m. Monday in Robeson Community College’s A.D. Lewis Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Lumbee Tribe.
The university and GPAC will host the Little Miss and Teen Miss Lumbee Pageant on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and the Junior Miss and Miss Lumbee Pageant on July 7 at 6:30 p.m.
On Monday the Lumbee Outdoor Market will stretch more than a mile from Third Street along UNCP’s campus to the LRDA complex. Traditional food, arts and crafts, jewelry, Lumbee Homecoming T-shirts, and much more are on sale in the largest outdoor bazaar in Robeson County.
Fitness and athletic competition is a theme throughout Homecoming. The Lumbee Games begin 12:30 p.m. Sunday with wrestling in the UNCP gymnasium.
Other Lumbee Games events include swimming on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in UNCP’s Aquatic Center; 8 Ball Pool on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Game Room of the James B. Chavis University Center; tennis on July 6 at 5 p.m. at UNCP’s varsity tennis courts; and 3-on-3 basketball on July 7 at 9 a.m. in the English E. Jones Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center.
Fun and healthful events continue July 8 at 6 a.m. with the annual Kiwanis 5K Run and Walk beginning at Southeastern Fitness Center.
The annual Elder’s Luncheon is noon Wednesday at the Southeastern Agriculture Center on U.S. 74.
New this year is the Summer Jam in the Milton Hunt Park on July 6 at 7 p.m. with the live music of the Pizazz Band.
The annual Car Show will take place July 8, beginning at 8 a.m. on Prospect Road.
Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin will host an open house on July 7, beginning at 10 a.m., and will deliver the annual State of the Tribe Address at noon in the Boys and Girls Club that say
The Warrior’s Ball is July 7 at Porter Plaza beginning at 6 p.m. The Powwow begins at noon after the parade on July 8 on UNCP’s Quad.
UNCP Chancellor Robin Cummings and his wife, Rebecca, are Pembroke natives and will walk in the parade on July 8, beginning at 10 a.m.
“As a cultural hub for the Lumbee People, UNC Pembroke is pleased to serve as a focal point throughout Homecoming,” the chancellor said.
Lumbee Homecoming is capped off by the annual fireworks show at 9 p.m. July 8.