Museum’s Rock-a-Thon unifies community


The John G. Riley House and Museum hosted its 13th Annual “Culture to Culture” Rock-a-Thon event in conjunction with the City of Tallahassee’s Winter Festival and Celebration of Lights.

The Riley House’s “rock” was the highlight of the Rock-a-Thon, where several community, civic and church organizations participated in the annual rocking chair marathon to raise funds for the museum. The event also featured live entertainment, food, vendors and cultural enrichment.

The Distinguished Young Gentlemen of Tallahassee and the Shelter Band were some of the organizations that performed. Also, Santa Claus made a special appearance.

Many of the Rock-a-Thon attendees could recall the first Rock-a-Thon event and how it has progressed since then.

Nathaniel Wesley, a 1965 Florida A&M alumnus and former faculty member in the School of Allied Health, said the Rock-a-Thon is a great event and a great resource to the community

“I have been attending this event for 13 years – since the first event,” Wesley said. “It has grown so much since then. This event and the Riley House continue to keep African-American history at the forefront of our community.”

Many of the community organizations participate each year in support of the Rock-a-Thon.

Al Dennis, a member of the Gamma Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., said the event brings residents together.

“We’ve been participating in this event for the past four years in support of the Rock-a-Thon and Mrs. Althemese Barnes, director of the Riley House,” Wesley said. “This event is great. It brings the community together for fellowship and fun and presents a great fundraising opportunity.”

Levitticus Roberts, education coordinator of the Riley House, was excited about the growing community participation in the event.

“This is my second year with this event,” Roberts said. “It has expanded with both organization and vendor participation. I believe it was a great success. The crowd was entertained [and] our performers were awesome.”

With the growing number of attendees and vendors attending the annual Rock-a-Thon, volunteers for the day of the event have become important. Brandon Smith, a second-year political science student from Tallahassee, was pleased with his involvement in this year’s Rock-a-Thon.

“I helped with vendors, selling meal tickets and taking pictures,” Smith said. “I think it’s great for all of the Tallahassee organizations to come together for a good cause. The turnout and the performances were both great.”