MINT HILL – People in Mint Hill have rallied for months to save a 124-year-old Bain School building from destruction. Next weekend, they’ll take their campaign to the park in an effort to raise money for the building through an “old-fashioned” festival.
The first-ever Bain Daze Festival will take place Sept. 21, a Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mint Hill’s Park on Fairview, 8850 Fairview Road. The event will feature “old-timey” games like horseshoes and cornhole, live entertainment, food, crafts, a cake walk, dunking booth and games and activities for children.
The event also will feature several contests – including hula hoop, Victorian hat and beard and moustache – with prizes given to the winners. The Victorian hat contest is open to girls and women of all ages, and hats should reflect the historic Bain time period of 1889 to 1923. The beard and moustache contest is open to males of all ages, with one category for males with natural facial hair and another for males wearing artificial beards and moustaches. Contestants can register between 10 a.m. and noon on the day of the festival and must bring a picture of their hat, beard or moustache. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m.
Bain Daze and its activities are part of a larger effort to raise money to restore the circa-1889 historic Bain School building, as well as generate public interest in the building, festival publicity chair Carol Timblin said.
“We’re showing the community that we’re definitely serious (through hosting) a Bain Daze Festival,” Timblin said.
Timblin added event organizers thought a festival would be appropriate because Mint Hill Madness – the town’s annual fall event – won’t take place this year.
“This will sort of bridge the gap there,” she said. “People are used to doing a community festival at this time of the year.”
In addition to the festival activities, organizers will set up a historic Bain tent, with information about the school, as well as artifacts, pictures and possibly even a surprise guest.
“We’re inviting students, teachers, alumni – anyone who has gone to Bain – to come by and meet teachers and old friends,” Timblin said. “It’s important, I think, for people to visit the tent.”
Built more than 124 years ago, the building is, to many Mint Hill residents, an important part of the town’s history.
“It’s probably the most historic part of Mint Hill, right across from Philadelphia Church and the cemetery,” Timblin said.
But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which owns the building, plans to demolish it unless the town intervenes. CMS recently completed work on an 82,000-square-foot Bain Elementary School building as part of a plan to expand the school. The school system demolished all of the former elementary school, save a wing built in the 1980s.
CMS has worked closely with Mint Hill regarding historic Bain and is continuing to allow activists time to raise funds to restore the building. CMS previously requested the town make a concrete decision by spring 2013, but Timblin said the school system hasn’t given any official deadline.
So far, the Bain Restoration Committee has raised about $7,000 through private donations from businesses and individuals. Though Timblin said organizers haven’t set a goal for Bain Daze, they’d like the event to raise enough to cover a feasibility study on the building to see what it could be used for and how much it may cost to restore it.
Timblin said they’d like to see the building become a community center, where special events and art classes could be held. Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers previously told Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly restoration could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million, though Timblin said the committee will obtain a more accurate estimate if the feasibility study is conducted.
Find more about the efforts to restore the historic Bain School at www.bainacademycenter.com.