Johnson C. Smith University is gearing up for Homecoming 2009, and for the first time in decades most of the activity will occur on campus and in the Beatties Ford Road community.

As JCSU opens its door more to the community, returning homecoming events to campus only made sense, said Benny L. Smith, he school’s public relations director.

“This is not just a Smith event, but a Charlotte community event, and we want Charlotteans and visitors to be a part of this annual school pride celebration,” he said.

Homecoming activities began Monday, Oct. 12, and continue through Sunday, Oct. 18.

The school parade, usually held on Trade Street, has been moved to the Beatties Ford Road area, starting at West Charlotte High School and ending at JCSU. The parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17.

After the parade, JCSU will host a carnival-like event called Festiville, where the public can enjoy rides, cultural foods and entertainment. Admission is free.

JCSU President Ronald L. Carter began the event last year, and Smith said it was a huge success. “We wanted to be able to offer this again this year to become more engaging with our Northwest Corridor neighbors and the rest of the community,” he said.

The football game against Fayetteville State University will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 on the Eddie McGirt Football Field inside the Irwin Belk Complex.

National hip-hop artists Juelz Santana, Young Joc and Young Dro will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 in the Jack S. Brayboy Gymnasium, following JCSU’s community-wide homecoming pep rally at 6 p.m., also in the gym.

For a complete list of prices for parking and other homecoming week events, go to or call JCSU Public Relations Director Benny Smith at 704-378-1032.

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