Franklin to have Buffalo Riders for July 5 event

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

FRANKLIN—Franklin City and the Buffalo Riders will be putting on a family fun free event on July 5, at the Armory Field Sports Complex.

The Franklin Fourth of July Celebration will be from noon to 7 p.m. on that Saturday. Some of the activities to be featured will include bounce houses, face painting, games, and of course horse and pony rides with the Buffalo Riders. There will also be vendors selling arts, crafts and food.

“It should be a nice mix of activities on a major holiday weekend,” said City Manager Randy Martin. “If you are not planning to leave town for that weekend, then we will have a nice event for you.”

Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn said all of the activities are centered on families and bringing them together for a good time.

“The Franklin Community Fourth of July Celebration’s informal theme is ‘Family First,’” she said. “I have been thinking about the family unit for some time, and we just wanted to do something to promote it.”

Ken Wright, the organization’s president, said he was happy about this opportunity, as it gives the Buffalo Riders a chance to give back to the community

“Let me just say first that I and The Buffalo Riders Of Hampton Roads are very excited and proud to cosponsor this event with the City of Franklin,” he said. “As a community-oriented African-American equestrian club, we are keeping alive the history and contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers as well as the Black Cowboys of the old west.

“Our group gives lectures, participate in parades and much much more to educate our community about those brave men and one woman who gave there all so that we may stand and continue to tell the great history of our forefathers.”

There will be two performances set for later in the day, as well. One will feature a country music band, the Dave Cynar Band. The city will also bring out the rhythm and blues stylings of the MVP Band.

Angela Artis, the treasurer of the Buffalo Riders of Hampton Roads and co-chair of the event, said that Western Tidewater residents ought to be familiar with the horse-riding group, as they have appeared in many area parades and also participate in local trail rides.

“Most of our members actually live in the Tidewater area,” she said. “So many will be there and they will be talking about the history of the group and it will be educational.

“We always like to partner with community organizations, and anything that involves the family unit and children,” she added.

Johnson-Ashburn said that the Buffalo Riders are featured in Franklin’s parade.

“They are always a bright spot in in our parade,” she said. “Everyone gets excited when the horses come, especially the children.”

The city is also seeking exhibitors, vendors and sponsors for the event.

You can become a gold sponsor, which will give your company a banner that will be displayed during the event, for $1,000. A silver sponsor gets a sign with the company’s name and logo displayed at the event for $500.

For a $250 bronze sponsor, your company’s name will be recognized during the public announcements.

For more information about becoming a sponsor or a vendor, or about the event itself, email or call Artis at 620-4434 or Tony Hooper at 218-8233.

“For me, we have to do everything we can to promote the morals and values of the traditional family foundation,” the mayor said. “And we just want to provide people with an opportunity to help them enjoy their holiday in Franklin.”