Listening to Tony Khoury talk about his weekends in Greenville can almost tire out a listener.
His family – including wife Jarma and children Ely, Bryn and Gabby – are always on-the-go, with theater, sporting events, music in the park and art shows.
“Unless you are totally dull, there is always something to do here,” Khoury says. “It’s a good, old American town.” The Khoury family is not alone. On a weekend last fall, they found themselves with 2,000 other residents at Freeboot Fridays, a music and food festival held uptown the night before the hometown Eastern Carolina University football games.
On Saturday, the Khourys hosted a tailgate party with 120 people. “We make it a whole day. We had a pig pickin’ with families all there for a good time,” he says. The university of 24,000 students also plays a big role in other entertainment. The Khourys take in theater productions, including the ECU Performing Arts Series and ESU/Loessin Summer Theatre. There are also 28 parks in town for outdoor recreation. An average of 1,500 people attend Sunday in the Park, a free summer concert series held at the amphitheater in the Greenville Town Commons on the banks of the Tar River. “We lay out a blanket and eat and listen to the jazz music,” Khoury says. “It’s a very family-friendly town. All you have to do is open the newspaper to find something to do on the weekend.”
The Khourys also walk to the local ballparks to take in baseball games, eating popcorn and hot dogs in the pleasant weather of North Carolina just a short drive to either the mountains or the beach. “Especially because of the university, Greenville is a great place to live,” says Debbie Vargas, executive director of the Greenville/Pitt County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“It offers a great quality of life with access to recreation, arts, theatre and music that most towns our size don’t have.” Several art and history museums offer the town a wide variety of culture, from the 1901 A.W. Ange House with 1,000 historical artifacts to the Wellington B. Gray Gallery featuring internationally known contemporary artists. The Science and Nature Center includes a 10,000-gallon tank with turtles and aquatic life specific to North Carolina, Vargas says.
There is just as much for the active crowd. The ExtremePark skate park at Jaycee Park offers extreme cyclists and skaters a thrill, while the Green Mill Run Greenway in 324-acre River Park North fronts the Tar River and includes 2.5-mile multi-use trail. The Khourys are all tennis players and use the cities many public courts to play on the weekends – if they can squeeze in a game with all the activities on the schedule. “We’ve been in Greenville [many] years. I could have gone other places like Atlanta, but we love it here,” Khoury says. “It feels like home.”