Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Pavilion

A new outdoor venue for Farmville!

March 27, 2024 / Donna Williams

Farmville has a new venue space – the Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Pavilion.

The Pavilion, located on South Main St. beside the Farmville Community Center, is an outdoor venue designed to enhance the community while providing a space that brings people together. 

“The pavilion is conveniently located in a space that is already community-based,” said Alma Hobbs, president of the foundation and town commissioner. 

“Its purpose is to serve the town. It is an outreach to the community.”

Funded by a USDA Rural Development grant, members of the Nathan R. Cobb worked tirelessly to bring the Pavilion to life. 

“When we applied for the grant, we were really not looking to build a building. We were looking to renovate something in Farmville. But as we were looking for a building, we kept running into roadblocks. Finally we said, let’s just build one,” Hobbs said. 

With help from a community member, the Foundation found the perfect spot for the Pavilion. The Pavilion is located adjacent to Hobb’s grandparents’ former home. 

“It was unreal. It was almost like an omen,” Hobbs said. 

Even after receiving the grant and finding the ideal location, board members of the Foundation were unsure of the Pavillions future. 

“Two years ago we applied for the grant. Because of COVID causing an elevation in material prices and contractors to elevate their pricing, by the time we got our grant prices had almost doubled. We had to put up 25 percent of the grant,” Hobbs said. 

The Foundation held another fundraiser to help cover the cost, but still fell short of their goal. That’s when someone remarkable stepped in, Hobbs explained. 

During one of the Foundation’s scholarship awards programs, the Foundation invited Janet Sledge, a journalist, to speak. Sledge was very impressed by the Foundation and Farmville. It inspired her to set some money aside for the Foundation in her will. 

She honored her promise and left a significant amount for the Foundation. The funds were enough to cover the needed match monies, Hobbs said. 

“I was pleased, but it was a shock,” Hobbs said. 

 An engineer was also hired to design the Pavilion, which features a large flat outdoor area, multiple bathrooms, and a fully operational commercial kitchen approved by the Pitt County Health Department. Everything is also ADA compliant. 

Outdoor Venue in North Carolina - Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Pavilion

This unique feature sets the Pavilion apart from other outdoor venue spaces as renters are able to prepare food on site rather than hiring a caterer or bringing it in from home.

The kitchen features a commercial range, counter space and refrigerator. Sinks and a janitorial closet are also available. 

The kitchen can also be rented to use as a prep kitchen for those who desire to sell food but lack the commercial kitchen

Chairs and tables are also stored on the premises and are available for rent. 

Uses for the space can include birthday parties, family reunion, exercise classes, school reunions, weddings and more with the Pavilion able to hold 250 seated guests. 

“We can transform it into whatever they want it to be,” Hobbs said. 

Plans are underway for a week-to-week based Farmer’s Market and Gospel Festival. 

In the future, the Foundation hopes to expand the Pavilion to include a larger parking lot and back entrance. 

Hobbs and members of the Foundation are grateful for all the assistance and support they have received for the Pavilion and Foundation. 

“The grant required the town to partner with us. They were excellent to work with,” Hobbs said, adding many in the community also gave donations to support the Pavilion. 

The Pavilion is more than just a place to host events as it was designed to give back to the community through the Nathan R. Cobb Foundation.

The Foundation, which was founded in 2000, strives to leave a positive impact on the Farmville community just as Nathan Cobb did during his lifetime.

“The Foundation really stands on the principles and character of my father. It’s not him the person, but his character and how he impacted the community. He was responsible, accountable, fair, caring and a good citizen. He taught others how to be that way too,” Hobbs said. 

Since its creation, the Foundation has operated with a focus on three goals: scholarships, assisting families in distress, and Christian education.

Outdoor Venue in North Carolina - Nathan R. Cobb Sr. Pavilion