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50 at 50 - July 7

Updated: Monday, July 3, 2017
Several weeks ago, my travels took me to Kinston. If you are a foodie, when you hear Kinston, you may think of The Chef and Farmer. Being from Wayne County, Kinston and Lenoir County is just one county east. When my niece and nephew were younger, I took them to several parks in Kinston. The Lions Water Adventure and Neuseway Park with the nature center, health & science museum, and planetarium.  Great fun was had at both places.

On this recent trip with the goal of seeing a ‘new to me park’, I found Bill Fay Park located at 1007 Phillips Road. Although it was a hot Sunday afternoon and there weren’t too many people out, I did see a family enjoying a picnic at one of the shelters and kids at the playground.

This park was once a farmer’s field on the edge of town. When the park was built back in the late 70’s there was about $10,000 left in the budget. Jimmy Tyer, the Parks and Recreation Director at that time, drew up a par-3 golf course for the park on the back of a napkin. This was one of the first municipal par-3 courses in NC. Dedicated in 1979, the park also has tennis courts, lighted ball fields, a nature trail, picnic shelters, and playground.

For the first 25 years of its history, Billy Fay Park was Kinston’s main park. It is currently home of the Day in the Park Celebration which is a community-wide festival to kick off summer

So why the name Bill Fay Park? I talked to Bill Ellis, Kinston Parks & Recreation Director to get this information. Bill Fay was the first full-time Parks & Recreation Director in Kinston and served the city for 32 years. He had purchased the land for this park and died suddenly before anything could be started on the property. A fitting tribute to a gentleman that served the city for a great number of years and worked to preserve this area for the community.

For more information on Bill Fay Park visit

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Tags:  50at50  kinston  parks  recreation 

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