MINT HILL, NC – Mark your calendar for this year’s Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park!
This year marks the second event of its name dedicated to Tina Ross but the fourteenth official “Afternoon in the Park.” Originally termed “Sunday Afternoon in the Park,” the annual festival was held for 12 years on a Sunday afternoon in August at Wilgrove Park. Plans were in the works for the 13th annual “Afternoon in the Park” when Tina Ross passed away in 2018. In the wake of her passing, The Town made the decision to take a year off.
“Afternoon in the Park” returned in 2019 with a new date, a new location, and a new name. In order to take advantage of fall’s cooler weather, the first annual “Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park” was held in October in front of Town Hall. Although it may seem odd to hold an “Afternoon in the Park” in the middle of town, the name actually refers to Alfred Stevens’ famous painting “Afternoon in the Park” and not the event’s location.
Now, the annual event is a tribute to late Commissioner Tina Ross, a woman who loved both the arts and the Town of Mint Hill and dedicated much of her life to public service. From helping to conceive of and organize the very first Mint Hill Madness and writing the first check of the Mint Hill Business Association (now the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce) to serving as Mayor Pro-Tem until her health forced her to resign, it’s truly hard to imagine Mint Hill without Tina Ross’ impact. “We changed the name in Tina’s honor, but kept the ‘Afternoon in the Park’ because that is what Tina had named it,” said Assistant to the Town Manager Sheryl Smith in 2019.
COVID-related restrictions on in-person gatherings barred the Town from hosting an “Afternoon in the Park” in 2020, but thanks to the Town of Mint Hill and the Arts & Sciences Council, the “Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park” is set to return to Mint Hill Village on October 2. From 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, close to 40 vendors will line the circle in front of Town Hall.
“We have a wide variety of artists,” says Smith. “It will be a great place to start your Christmas shopping. You will find everything from pottery, fine arts, textiles, greeting cards, jewelry, candles and soap, original paintings and so much more. This event continues to honor Tina’s love for the arts and the Town of Mint Hill.”
The event will also feature entertainment by Mint Hill Dance (1:00 pm), Spotlight Performing Arts (2:00 pm) and Metrolina Christian Academy (3:00 pm). Lunchbox LLC and Abbott’s Custard will be on site as well, and Smith hopes that the central location will encourage patrons to visit other local businesses and restaurants.
“Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park” is just one of many Town Hall-sponsored events happening this October. Make sure to check out the Scarecrows around town starting October 1, and of course, don’t miss the return of Mint Hill Madness on October 21! Keep up with all the great events happening in Mint Hill this Fall by following them on Facebook @minthillevents.