HAMLET — Retired but hardly retiring, Hamlet native and serial volunteer Chuck Cobb has been elected president of the Seaboard Festival.
His mission, as he sees it — not only to organize a bang-up 37th edition of the street festival showcasing the “Hub of the Seaboard” in September but to accentuate the positive and build on success.
“I’ve never been involved in (the festival) in the past,” said Cobb, whose volunteerism resume is extensive. “But given the circumstances” — a festival without a board to organize it — “I wanted to get involved.
“It’s a spotlight on Hamlet, a showcase for the county (and) for tourism,” he said Wednesday, “and we want to sustain that success. We are challenged and excited to keep that going.”
Longtime Seaboard president Kim Lindsey resigned in January, accompanied by her slate of officers. The past few months of Lindsey’s tenure had found the festival board mired in controversy, with officials and volunteers picking sides and slinging insults.
Because the festival board’s nominating committee had not presented a slate of candidates in November and because the serving officers all had resigned the subsequent January, festival volunteers dug into their bylaws, electing Cobb president and deciding to choose a full slate of officers when they had attracted more volunteers.
City Manager Jonathan Blanton said he had received a number of calls from potential volunteers and had passed them on to Cobb. Cobb also said volunteers who organized the past foot race and car show had agreed to stay on.
Mayor Bill Bayless exulted in the choice of Cobb.
“I think he’ll do a wonderful job,” said Bayless, who volunteered for the Seaboard in years past. “He’d a hard worker.
“We just turned everything over to him,” Bayless said, speaking of the records, checkbooks and other documents Lindsey had given him for safekeeping in January. “I’m exceptionally pleased.”
Cobb logged one accomplishment Tuesday night, when the City Council learned of his election just minutes before: Council member and wife of Kim, David Lindsey offered to hand over the virtual keys to the festival’s website and Facebook pages, which he had administered.
“We’re still trying to grow the board,” Cobb said, but “the success will depend on the experience and expertise of those who have been involved in the past.
“I believe it will continue as it has. It’ll work. It’ll be successful.”
The city of Hamlet is host for the festival on its streets but does not organize the event. City police and firefighters do stand by in case of emergency.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]