August 24, 2011-The FVSU Wildcats share a special relationship with the community of Fort Valley, U.S.A. Business owners provide services needed by students, faculty and staff; and in turn, the university family helps to increase the bottom line of shop keepers. On August 19, both groups celebrated their bond with a first-ever event called F.L.Y. Friday in the city’s downtown district. Hundreds of residents, FVSU students and university staff gathered in the heart of the city for the community block party with music, food, live entertainment and activities.
An electrifying performance by FVSU’s Blue Machine Marching Band started the party.“Communiversity” leaders including Fort Valley Mayor, Dr. John Stumbo, FVSU President Larry E. Rivers and Student Government Association President Dominique Nichols keyed up the crowd with spirited remarks to kick-off the new school year. “This is the first annual ‘welcome to Fort Valley’ event. We want the students to know that the community loves having you here,” said Stumbo. “We want to do all we can to give you the best college experience possible.”
Blue and gold “Wildcat Pride” t-shirts, caps, fans and rally towels of participants made a fashion statement. Main Street in front of Citi Trends clothing store and Aaron’s furniture and electronics store turned into an outdoor dance floor. Students moved to the electric slide and grooved to old-school hits such as Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go,” and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” provided by DJ Teddy St. James of Power Jamz 104.3, the university’s campus radio station. Residents filled chairs lined up on the side walk to watch the festivities, while children of all ages played, searched for treasures during scavenger hunts; and munched on popcorn and fruit-flavored ices.
Businesses contributed by donating gift certificates and giveaways. Mayor Stumbo and members of the city council provided barbequed chicken and ribs. The Fort Valley Police Department and Fort Valley Public Works grilled it while the Fort Valley Fire Department handed out complimentary ice cream.
The live performances were a crowd favorite. All eyes focused on the viewing stand as amateur rappers took center stage for an all out freestyle battle. Khicks, a Fort Valley contemporary dance group got the audience’s feet moving during a lively performance and there was even a crash course in basic ballroom dancing by members of the ensemble. A professional pyrotechs team from August, Ga. lit up the night with a fire show to cap the evening.