FAMU hosts Riley House Rock-A-Thon fundraiser

2018-2019 Mr. and Mrs. FAMU
Photo submitted by Cori Bostic

This year’s Rock-A-Thon, an annual fundraiser for the John G. Riley House and Museum, moved to Gaither gym Saturday as a result of the inclement weather.

The Rock-A-Thon, the museum’s annual rocking chair marathon and membership drive, is in its 19th year. It supports student internships and positions in a variety of academic fields.

Proceeds from the Rock-A-Thon also contribute to the upkeep and operations of the historic Riley House.

Organizations from all over Tallahassee set up early Saturday to rock, rock, rock away. Organizations like Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, Leon County Sheriff’s Office, all of the Divine Nine organizations, and many more came out to keep the museum open as a local and regional treasure.

A variety of performers entertained the rockers and audience members throughout the Rock-A-Thon. The Mau Oli Oli dancers gave the audience a taste of what Christmas is like in Hawaii. The Maddox Youth Dance Company charmed the audience with a series of dances from girls of all ages. Phillip Solomon graced the crowd with “Good Vibes” as he played his saxophone. From drummers to musicians to dancers to combat fighters, the crowd was thoroughly entertained.

Filled with joy and entertainment, members of organizations mingled with each other while rocking away. Many familiar faces from the community were in attendance as well.

Paige Lee, director of education at the Riley Museum, described the Rock-A-Thon as a hidden treasure and a vital part of educating the community on African American heritage. She explained the importance of rocking the chairs is to raise money and memberships for the museum.

President Larry Robinson and First Lady Sharon Robinson. 
Photo submitted by Cori Bostic

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, elected less than four weeks previously, stopped by. “I have been coming to this event for over a decade. The Riley House Museum is a jewel in the community. It is absolutely amazing,” Dailey said. “But the Rock-A-Thon is great because it brings everybody together to celebrate not only the Riley House but the city of Tallahassee and how wonderful it is. It's a great fundraiser and I am glad to come out and support, not only on behalf of the city of Tallahassee as mayor but personally.”

FAMU President Larry Robinson and his wife, Sharon, got their fair share of rocking as well. Robinson said he’s been coming to the Rock-A-Thon for years and is honored that FAMU could accommodate it for everyone.

The rain didn’t stop anyone from having a good time at the 19th annual Rock-A-Thon and competing in the Chair Decoration Contest. Founder and executive dIrector of the John G. Riley House and Museum, and a FAMU alumna, Althemese Barnes, said the event is dear to her heart. She said she is looking forward to the 20th Annual Rock-A-Thon.