PITTSBORO — A group of up to 100 women will dance their way down the one-mile parade route this Sunday at the Pittsboro Christmas parade in hopes to spread peace, love and unity in a town that has …
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PITTSBORO — A group of up to 100 women will dance their way down the one-mile parade route this Sunday at the Pittsboro Christmas parade in hopes to spread peace, love and unity in a town that has seen its challenges over the past few months.
WINGS — an acronym for Women in Nice Gowns — was created more than a decade ago by a group of local friends in hopes to inject some fun, frivolity and female empowerment. Andrea Batsche, owner of New Karma for Old Threads in downtown Pittsboro, said that at the time, the women wanted to do something and dress up for no specific reason — no fundraiser, no event — other than having fun and crossing boundaries.
At the first inspiration, the women weren’t sure where to do it. Batsche noted that Tami Schwerin, co-owner of The Plant in Pittsboro, got the idea of pairing local non-profits and local businesses for the Pittsboro Christmas parade, and the group began to take flight. The women would get together, dance in choreographed routines, wearing evening gowns and wings for the Christmas parade and Mardi Gras celebrations.
“It was all age groups and it was a complete blast,” Batsche said.
“It was true community building,” Schwerin said. “That’s where people got to know each other.”
Over time, the group of about 40 began to dissipate and children began to grow and responsibilities took over. Earlier this year, one of those women, Beth Barrickman Davis, lamented with another founding member, Pam Smith, over drinks at Pittsboro’s City Tap about the loss of WINGS.
“It’s been 10 years since we did the parade,” Barrickman Davis said. “It was so much fun and we all had a blast. We would run into each other and talk about it. So we just decided to make this happen.”
With the blessings of the original founders, Barrickman Davis started sending out messages to women who had been involved before and then created a Facebook group that she said “snowballed.”
Thus, WINGS was reborn.
About 20 women have been meeting every Wednesday for more than a month, planning for the Pittsboro Christmas parade, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.
“It’s been such a wonderful collaboration with everyone,” Barrickman Davis said. “There’s been great feedback, great ideas, and it’s come together so well. It could almost become a movement of sorts.”
“I have loved Beth’s energy and bright, bright spirit pulling this together,” Batsche said.
This year, there are many of the founding women, but many, many more. The original group stood at about 40 women, while this year’s Facebook group has attracted more than 100. Barrickman Davis describes the group as women who don’t want to take themselves seriously, but want to have a purpose and spread a message. That message is “bring peace to Pittsboro.”
“It’s timely,” Batsche said. “We need something to enjoy with everything going on politically, environmentally and economically. Something for women by women — a real empowerment statement.”
“It’s so good after the statue,” Schwerin said. “It’s about peace, love, understanding and community. It’s an antidote to what’s been going on in Pittsboro.”
Smith added, “This is a time where we need some peace and love in our community.”
And the draw to spread that message has been significant. Smith notes they had no idea so many women would sign up to participate.
“That just goes to show you there’s a lot of interest.” Smith said. “It’s going to be powerful.”
Smith created hearts that they will be handing out to adults instead of candy, hoping to spread the message throughout the community, bring the community back together and close divisions. The purpose is not to represent a non-profit, foundation, political stance or any other purpose but to spread love and reconnect the community.
“Over 100 strong, powerful women free-styling it down the road is going to get some attention,” Smith said. “That’s the reason we don’t have a choreographer. We don’t need it. Every woman will be dancing to the tune of her own drummer. That free spirit — we want women dancing from their heart.”
Smith noted that each of the women are smart and powerful in their own right as community and business leaders. But together, they will be a force for joy, love and community.
“It makes my heart soar and shout out in joy,” Smith said. “There’s power in numbers. Power in women. We, the women have got to do it.”
“It’s heartwarming to witness the joy happening,” Batsche said. “Joy happens.”
“I hope this isn’t the end,” Barrickman Davis said. “I don’t think this is the end. I feel like there’s a lot more to come for us and spreading positivity.
Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.