Norcross file photo

Norcross is planning to celebrate its 150th birthday, albeit a year late because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a festival on Oct. 23.

What’s a one-year delay in celebrating a 150th birthday when there’s been a global pandemic?

Norcross is preparing to hold a festival next weekend to belatedly celebrate the 150th anniversary — or technically “150+1 Years” as the city is calling it — of the town’s founding.

Officially, 2020 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of Norcross, but, well, the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on and Gwinnett County still had high numbers of new cases a year ago. That made large gatherings, such as a citywide birthday party, impossible at the time.

“For me – for us all – it is arguably the most important day on the city’s calendar this year: a day when we remember the founding of our city and the impact we’ve had as Gwinnett’s second oldest city,” Norcross Mayor Craig Newton said.

The celebration will take place from 4 until 10 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Lillian Webb Park, and the city has picked “Baseball” its the celebration’s theme.

The sports-related theme is a nod to Norcross’ history with baseball, including once having its own team, the Norcross Nuggets, as well as producing four professional baseball players and being the site where Roy Carlyle hit a 618-foot home run that set a Guinness World Record.

Lillian Webb Park is also located on the former site of the city’s old baseball field.

Newton will deliver a welcome at 4 p.m. and ballgame themed food will be served. In keeping with the baseball theme, the Norcross High School baseball team and Gwinnett Stripers mascot, Chopper, will make appearances at the event.

The event will also include food trucks and vendors on the upper level of Lillian Webb Park. There will also be a Kids Zone that includes inflatable baseball games, bounce houses, face painting and stilt walkers among other activities.

As the city prepared for the celebration, Newton reflected on the city’s founders and what the importance of their decision to establish a community means to the modern day city of Norcross.

“We are indebted to the men and women who had the vision that led to the creation of the city of Norcross back in 1870, and all who have contributed to the leadership and vision of our city since,” Newton said.

“None of the popularity for which our city has been known would have happened without the foresight of the original founders and our city, who set out with the express intention of developing a small farming and business community of neighbors helping neighbors.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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