By TOM WOERNER
Of The Record Staff
A tradition of more than 30 years will continue Saturday night as the Lillington Rotary Club hosts what many know as the social event of the year in the county seat.
Club members who have been soliciting help from the community for several months are now making final preparations for the 31st annual Cornelius Harnett Gala which will be held Saturday at the Harnett County Governmental Complex beginning at 7 p.m.
The Rotary Club depends on the event as its main fundraiser each year. This year the gala will serve as a platform for the club to honor the man who came up with the idea of the gala and has been one of its biggest supporters throughout the event’s history. The club’s longest-serving member, retired District Court Judge Ed McCormick, will be given special recognition.
Judge McCormick was the guiding force behind the first Cornelius Harnett Gala which was held in 1986. The idea of the event is to help the club raise money while also honoring the namesake of Harnett County, Cornelius Harnett.
In the years since the first gala, Judge McCormick has continued to educate the county on the county’s namesake. He orga- See Gala, Page 3 Gala
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nized a display on Harnett’s life which remains at the Harnett County Courthouse.
The club also wanted to recognized Judge McCormick’s continuing contributions. Most notably he volunteers with the club each week to help in the Buddy Backpack program. He also participates in many other Rotary activities.
“Judge McCormick has made so many contributions to the club and to the community that we thought it was important to honor him at the event he started,” Lillington Rotary Club President-Elect Tom Woerner said.
As in previous years, any profits from the event will be used to fund club projects. The club provides scholarships each year for students at both Western Harnett and Harnett Central High Schools. The club also provides both funding and volunteer support for the Harnett County Buddy Backpack program.
Other works of the club include providing dictionaries for local elementary school students, providing recognition for outstanding students at Lillington-Shawtown Elementary School, giving a financial gift to the Harnett County Teacher of the Year and participating in Rotary International’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
As has been the case since the event started, Leon Jordan and the Continentals will once again provide big band dance music for the event. The group, based in Raleigh, has performed at all of the 30 previous Cornelius Harnett Galas. The group was formed in 1957 and has played throughout the Triangle region since its first performance at the 1958 Miss Raleigh Pageant.
The Continentals Band is best known for having played more than 500 Saturday night engagements at the Radisson Governors Inn in the Research Triangle region.
Anyone who has not purchased tickets for the gala can purchase tickets for the price of $50 a person which includes a Meadow Restaurant buffet meal. For more information, contact Mr. Woerner at (919) 607-3714.
Leon Jordan and the Continentals, shown here at a previous Cornelius Harnett Gala, will once again perform at the event Saturday night in Lillington in the Governmental Complex commons area.