Dale Gray is a 19-year-old businessman who appreciates the art of poetry.

On Saturday, he and friend Christopher Graham, 25, will sponsor “Poetry in the Park” – a five-hour drop-in showcasing Charlotte-area comedians, musicians and poets.

Gray said he expects 20 to 30 performers at the 2 p.m. event in Dilworth’s Freedom Park. He said food vendors also will be there.

“I decided to have this event to raise awareness of the rising poetry scene in Charlotte,” he said.

Gray said his love for poetry began in high school, where he met his girlfriend Tra Lopez, 20. They both attended Northwest School of the Arts and have been dating for three years.

“She’s into poetry a lot, and she got me listening to it,” he said. “After a while I just got into it.”

Gray said their ultimate goal is to start a poetry lounge.

Gray and his partner Graham are hosting the event out of their own pockets, an estimated $2,000 to $3000, he said.

Gray said he started his business, New Crown Graphics, when he was still in high school. The company makes business cards and flyers and designs logos and covers. He also attends the Art Institute of Charlotte and will graduate at the end of the year.

“Poetry in the Park” is his first attempt at promoting such an event, but if turnout is strong, he said, he’ll definitely do another.

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