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Plans underway for Lafayette Ball

MURFREESBORO – Who knew that a carriage stuck in the mud 181 years ago would lead to what is now perhaps the largest social gathering in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

The planning committee of the biennial Lafayette Ball are gearing up for this event that pays tribute to the 1825 visit to Murfreesboro by Major General Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman that befriended America in their fight for freedom against England during the Revolutionary War.

The 2006 Lafayette Ball is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18. The formal black-tie event, one that benefits the Murfreesboro Historical Association, begins at 9 p.m. at the J.M. Jenkins Center in Murfreesboro.

In addition to the actual event, there are traditionally several pre-ball parties hosted by patrons of the Murfreesboro Historical Association.

At the Jenkins Center, ticket-holders are treated to an array of food and beverage. Those looking to further their entertainment are invited to dance the night away to the sounds of the “Fantastic Shakers.”

A limited number of advance tickets are now available by contacting the Murfreesboro Historic Association at (252) 398-5922.

General Lafayette has long held a special place in the hearts of all Americans, especially to those he reached out to during his 1825 tour of the United States.

Listed among his stops of the fledging young country was Murfreesboro. The town made plans to greet the General as they scheduled a reception, banquet and ball.

However, General Lafayette’s carriage became stuck in the mud en route to the town and he was only able to make an appearance at the banquet.

In 1973, Murfreesboro Historical Association members decided to revive the ball as a fundraiser to its organization. It was held every two years until its sudden demise in 1991. It was revived again in 2004.

As is traditional, the Lafayette Ball planning committee names an honorary chairperson for the event as well as invites an official representative from France. Those names will soon be released and published in an upcoming edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.