Freeboot Friday

One of last year's Freeboot Friday events in Uptown Greenville.

The football pregame festival Freeboot Friday, which was scheduled for tomorrow evening, will be canceled due to Hurricane Dorian. The event was scheduled to kickoff East Carolina University’s first home game of the fall 2019 season.

Following tomorrows cancelation, Freeboot Friday will begin its 20th anniversary this year and will be held at Five Points Plaza in the Uptown district. The festival will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday before every home game of the 2019 fall season. The event will feature entertainment for all ages, as well as a variety of local food vendors, artisans, and musical groups.

A local nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the district, Uptown Greenville, will host the festival. Interim executive director of Uptown Greenville, Meredith Hawke, expressed optimism for the support of the local community.

“The community loves Freeboot Friday. It’s a way to celebrate part of the fabric of Greenville that is ECU,” Hawke said.

Hawke also described how the event came from humble beginnings in the parking lot of Chico’s Restaurant and quickly became a fall tradition which has marked the start of football season in Greenville for the past two decades, and has provided a place for locals to come together and enjoy time with their families.

“We come to celebrate a common notion, which is ECU football and to see the revitalization of the Uptown district,” Hawke said.

Tomorrow's Freeboot Friday was originally planned to host, reggae-rock group Sons of Paradise was supposed to make its return to Greenville tomorrow. Saxophonist, Jordan Gee, praised the local music scene.

“Greenville’s a fun town, we always have great reception. It’s a chance to do something to kick off the football season,” Gee said.

The band started in 2009 and hails from Raleigh, North Carolina. It has been associated with other reggae acts, but have influences from rock, jazz and rap, refusing to adhere to labels or genres.

The group has shifted their lineup over the years to better suit their sound, and Gee expressed his hope that Freeboot Friday could be a real showcase of the group’s talent before being informed about the cancelation.

“From what we’ve heard, there’s always a good crowd. With the excitement around the football team, I think we can also showcase what we can do,” Gee said.

The festival includes a plethora of North Carolina native and local food trucks and vendors. First time vendor, Patty Cakes Cupcake Boutique, looked forward to making its appearance offering a variety of gourmet cupcakes and desserts.

Patricia Roseman, operator of Patty Cakes Cupcake Boutique, expressed high praise for Freeboot Friday and its effect on bringing the local community together.

“I asked Meredith (Hawke) if I could do Freeboot Friday. From what I’ve heard and seen, the community and ECU love it. They enjoy going and when I did go, it was packed,” Roseman said.

Freeboot Friday will resume Sep. 20. More information on musical performances, vendors and parking for Freeboot Friday can be found on Uptown Greenville’s website.

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