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Important Dates

Praise in the Park is Saturday at Smithville Park

Sept. 17. One of the longest running free, family-friendly festivals returns to Cornelius this weekend. Praise in the Park is an annual event that features local, regional, and national gospel artists along with food and educational and inspirational vendors.


Performers include Bonita Bourney-Simmons, Tiffani Lewis, Gary Mumford, Tawanna Ross, Cassandra O’Neal, Frankie & the Anointed Angels, Sonny Turner, Arnetta Murrill Crooms and Gospel legend John P. Kee.

COVID testing

Groundwater Solutions will have a mobile unit on site to offer COVID testing and vaccines.


The Kids Play area, sponsored by Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, will distribute prizes and book bags.

Outpost Fashion, which has designed clothing for athletes and celebrities, will distribute designer clothing for men and women.


Vendors include Cricket Wireless, The Jamie Kimble Foundation, Donate Life, NC, US Colored Troops Black History Group, Charlotte Sleep Solutions, Paparazzi Jewelry, the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte Mecklenburg, Mary Kay, Jam Vines Botanicals, Jamaka Glow and more.


Sponsors of the event include the Town of Cornelius Parks & Recreation, Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Lendio Funding, Bobby’s Painting, Alexander Funeral Home, Coca Cola Consolidated, Groundwater Solutions-Genesis Project and Emma Allen’s State Farm Insurance.


The Ausie Rivens Scholarship Foundation was established in 2004 in honor of one of the first Black barbers in Cornelius. The foundation is located at 20805 Catawba Avenue, where the original barbershop was built in the late 1950s. In August 2020, the 501c3 was renamed the Ausie and Martin Rivens Scholarship Foundation in memory of Martin Rivens, a Smithville native and an all-star baseball player at Gardner Webb University, who died suddenly on July 16, 2020.

The mission of the foundation is to empower area youth by providing life skills workshops, promote healthy lifestyles, promote continued education, and provide educational and financial assistance for future employment skills and entrepreneurial success. Proceeds from the event support the AMRS mission.