2019 Award of Merit - Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series
Since 2010 the Town of Lenoir has partnered with the local Google Data Center and other tech and nonprofit partners across the state to host the North Carolina Gravity Games in downtown Lenoir.
This STEM-based event has grown larger each year and now includes a variety of science-themed activities and festival attractions. Since its inception, the main event of the games is the gravity-powered soapbox derby that runs down hilly Ashe Avenue in downtown Lenoir. The games are an annual opportunity for learning that attracts many regional participants. Lenoir raised nearly $200,000 to put on the event in September 2019.
The Lenoir Main Street program incorporates downtown businesses into the Gravity Games in a variety of ways. The Festival Food Court exclusively offers food from downtown establishments and is staffed by Main Street volunteers. All proceeds from the day are given directly to the businesses. The Games also include a “Foot in the Door” scavenger hunt through historic downtown that encourages participants to explore the architecture and visit local businesses.
The games are getting ready to celebrate its 10th year in April and the event keeps growing in scale and interest each year. Lenoir is certain that the North Carolina Gravity Games will continue to gravitate people to their downtown for years to come!
Congratulations to this Small Town Main Street community for its 2019 award.
In the category of PROMOTION, Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series recognizes outstanding and creative downtown events.
An Award of Merit is presented to: The Lenoir Main Street Program, the City of Lenoir, Google, Appalachian State University Department of Physics, Appalachian State University Graduate School, NC Science Festival, UNC Morehead Planetarium, NC Space Grant Academic Consortium, and GBW Strategies for NC Gravity Games