Harpersville celebrates homecoming

Current and former residents alike gathered at Harpersville City Hall July 31 to take part in the town’s first homecoming celebration.

Mayor Theoangelo Perkins said the homecoming was intended to bring the town together, hopefully drawing home residents who have moved away.

“It’s for fellowship, fun and to celebrate our history,” Perkins said.

The town’s history was the main theme for the weekend-long event, included in several activities such as a historical graveyard tour, civil war ceremony re-enactment and historic bus tour through town.

“We have so much history in this area,” said City Council member Janet Gill. “We want to share what Harpersville is all about.”

The town’s historical marker was unveiled in front of City Hall at the ceremony July 31. The marker tells of the town’s history and heritage including that Harpersville is one of the oldest communities in Shelby County, preceding both the state and the county in establishment.

Several of the weekend’s participants have long family heritages within the town. Shawn Baker led the historical re-enactments for the weekend and said his family had been in Harpersville since 1898. Baker participated in the graveyard tour July 30 where several of his ancestors are buried.

Haley Spates Mims returned home to Harpersville for homecoming to celebrate with her family. Mims currently lives in Chelsea, but her family roots in Harpersville go back more than 100 years.

“It’s the family heritage here that we are proud of,” she said. “It’s great to be able to come back for homecoming and hear about the history of Harpersville.”

Other activities for the weekend included live music, food vendors, children’s activities, car show and folk art.

Local artist Lonnie Holley carved coarse sand while sharing his story with passing crowds. Holley has been making art in Harpersvile since 1979.

Shelby County Sherriff Chris Curry said Harpersville is a valued part of the county.

“Harpersville is a jewel,” he said. “It does a lot for our community and we’re glad they’re celebrating their history and looking to the future.”

Perkins said the City Council is discussing making homecoming an annual event.