Foul weather doesn’t dampen community spirit for homecoming
OXFORD — A slight drizzle that fell Saturday morning didn’t stop the Amram, Sudan and Oasis Shriners from parading up College Street from downtown Oxford to the Masonic Home for Children.
There, hundreds gathered to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Masonic Home, which opened in 1873 as the Oxford Orphan Asylum.
The Sudan Buccaneers brandished swords atop their vehicle converted to a pirate’s ship that rode alongside parents, children, Masonic Home alumni and Masons. The third annual Masonic Homecoming Festival began Friday with an alumni charity golf tournament at Kerr Lake Country Club and will continue through activities today.
The Shriners were joined for the first time by community entries in the parade, including the Mary Potter Middle School band, the J.F. Webb football and volleyball teams, N.C. Martial Arts College, Cub Scout Pack No. 637 and the Granville County Humane Society.
Many Oxford residents attended the festival Saturday with their kids to support the Masonic Home and enjoy the family event.
“The food is great and it’s a nice time for our little ones,” said Kim Brooks, who lives with her family in Oxford. “I like to watch the parade and my children get to play in the bounce houses and not get bored.”
Despite cloudy weather and rain Saturday, Masonic Home alumni friends, family and supporters paraded through town and danced to popular beach music at the “yard party.”
After one of the largest Shrine parades in North Carolina, folks headed to the “The Pit” on the campus lawn for a barbecue lunch.
As the Craig Woolard Band played in the backdrop, Priscilla Adcock remembered growing up at the Masonic Home with her four sisters and friend Michelle Griffin.
Adcock, who attends the festival every year, said she arrived at the Masonic Home when she was 2 years old, after her mother passed away.
Griffin, who began living at the Masonic Home at age 10, said she and Adcock quickly became close after she also lost her mother.
“He couldn’t take care of me and my siblings and work all the time,” Griffin said of her dad, following her mother’s death.
Adcock said she and her sister Shelley still consider the orphanage their home.
“We didn’t want to go home,” Adcock said, “We didn’t get in trouble so we could stay.”
Adcock, class of 1999, attended Barton College and Griffin, class of 2001, continued her education at Vance-Granville Community College.
Griffin, now a Montessori schoolteacher in Durham, said growing up at the Masonic Home taught her a sense of responsibility among other values.
“We learned respect and to take care of one another,” she said.
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