In addition to serving as a time to remember the sacrifices of military personnel, Memorial Day Weekend in the Lake Norman area is also recognized as the  start of summer.

And in downtown Davidson, thanks to the long-running efforts of the owners of two neighboring Main Street businesses, one of the region's start-of-the-weekend traditions is a cookout in the heart of town.

Neither J.J. Wade, of J.J. Wade and Associates at 212 S. Main St., nor Ron Raeford, of Raeford's Barber Shop at 206 S. Main St., remember exactly when they started teaming up to host the gather-'round-the-grill community cookouts on the Friday before Memorial Day. But both are determined to keep the tradition going.

The hosts provide the main entrees and folks from the community bring side dishes to the informal gathering held in the tree-shaded area right behind their businesses.

Everyone is welcome, but Wade and Raeford said the primary goal of the event is to provide lunch and demonstrate their appreciation for the members of the town's police and fire departments.

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