Staff photo by Allison Potter
Linda Brown has stepped down as chairwoman but will continue to serve on the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla committee.
Linda Brown will no longer hold her title as chairwoman of the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Committee but will remain active as a member.
Brown grew up spending summers in Wrightsville Beach since 1953, and she bought her first Wrightsville Beach home in 1989.
“I don’t think I’ve missed but one flotilla in 30 years,” Brown said.
She has been involved in an official capacity with flotilla for eight years, serving as either chair or co-chair since 2007. She will remain active with flotilla and the Wrightsville Beach Foundation’s Taste of Wrightsville Beach along with joining the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation’s Board of Directors.
She said the 30th anniversary was her favorite year in 2013, but she also remembered a scary moment when she received a call from committee member Jimmy Gilleece telling her two barges were bearing down on the 29 boats lined up in the Intracoastal Waterway for the parade. They beached the barges, but she said situations like those are what get to her.
She said the relationships between board members and the highest amount of sponsors and boat entries in flotilla history are what made 2013 her favorite year.
But her most memorable flotilla experience is from 2009.
“When [Congressman] Mike McIntyre came to judge and he brought his entourage with him, and everybody was wondering what had happened, if the fireworks had blown up on Bird Island, because two sheriff’s cars, the police, highway patrol, it looked like the president was coming down Waynick Boulevard,” Brown said.
She said she does not think anyone needs to remain chair of any organization for a long, long time, because there needs to be new blood and fresh ideas.
She had a few words of advice for incoming chair Pres Davenport, while still working away before the first flotilla meeting of 2014.
“Surround yourself with a great board, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Brown said. “Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas and always look for new ideas, things to add to flotilla. … Don’t ever take it out of being a small town event. Don’t make it a corporate event.”
She also said it is important to answer every phone call and email, adding that they receive about 1,000 emails shortly before and after the weekend event.
“I love flotilla,” Brown said. “It’s the largest event at Wrightsville Beach. … For the residents, it’s a tradition with their families.”