Haven’t some of you wondered about this day? Why the dinner and when did it start? I am going back to through the years to 1963, when this fourth weekend in August was originated.
I will start from the beginning and tell you how, when and where the first dinner was held. It was the year 1963 when a few of Landis (Papa) Harris’ children and himself decided to gather at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland for a picnic.
Everyone present enjoyed the picnic so much and decided to have another the next year. They decided to meet the fourth weekend in August, (our church homecoming services) at the Landis Harris home place, Halifax, North Carolina.
We met the next year about that same time, but because of the passing of Landis (Papa) Harris on the Thursday before the fourth Saturday, we did not hold the picnic.
After Papa’s homegoing, we decided to meet every year, at the same time, beginning with 1965. Everyone thought it would be a nice idea and so began the HARRIS FAMILY REUNION.
In 1976, the early part of the year, I visited our cousin Hortense Hilliard, daughter of Ertie, in Buffalo, New York. We talked about the Harris Family Reunion and thought it would be good to open it up the entire Ester Harris family and friends. As a result of our conversation, the remaining family joined us the summer of 1976 in North Carolina.
We gathered at Howard Bloom Restaurant (renamed Holiday Inn), Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. This was a first as the hotel had never hosted a family reunion. We had a wonderful time of sharing with family and friends and decided that we would all gather the same time every two years. Our next reunion was held at the Kirkwood Adams Civic Center, Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina in 1978. It was decided at that time to take it to other cities where the Harris family members lived.
We enlarged our borders and became known as the: ESTER HARRIS FAMILY REUNION.
They may not, but we are hoping and praying that the younger generation will reverence this weekend and live it enough to keep it going for years to come…
CHARLES D. HARRIS
The Family Historian