Lee Myers, former mayor of Matthews and festival organizer, said past galas have only been able to accommodate about 80 people, and with sponsors, nonprofit representatives and the Matthews Alive! Board members, the event was almost always full.
“For the 20th (gala), we secured a partner, Savour, whose facility can handle 200 plus,” Myers said. “We are hoping to attract those who have worked over the past 20 years to make Matthews Alive! the success it is today.”
The gala has been a tradition to celebrate those who work to make the festival happen every year. This year’s event is Aug. 23 and costs $25.
“They are volunteers,” Myers said. “Matthews has a rich history of volunteers. We must thank them and let them know that they are appreciated. It’s a time to give thanks to our volunteers and sponsors and a time to kick off Matthews Alive!”
Myers said residents should attend this year’s gala to help give thanks and continue the tradition of hard-working sponsors and volunteers.
“Some of our invited special guests are coming in from hundreds of miles away,” he said. “Travel schedules have been altered to be able to attend. Folks should come and meet and say ‘thank you.’ I hope we will all encourage others to give of their time and talent for future festivals.”
Myers took office as mayor of Matthews in December 1991. The first Matthews Alive! Festival was held 21 months later, he said.
The inspiration for the festival was a traditional Labor Day event for the town.
“The group that had put the event on decided in April 1993 that they would not be able to continue,” Myers said. “I reached out to the community to continue the tradition. There was a tremendous response. Matthews Alive! was started.”
The festival is important to residents because of tradition, community, family and a time to “give back,” Myers said. Matthews Alive! raises money for local nonprofits who provide volunteers to work the four-day festival.
The milestone of 20 years for the festival also marks more than $1 million given back to nonprofits from festival proceeds.
“This is the one time of the year that some folks will see many of their community neighbors,” he said. “The festival is about having a quality family event that raises money for nonprofits in the community and brings the community together.”
Want to go?
For more information about the gala or to buy tickets, call Lee Myers at 704-376-3000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $25.