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Greensboro neighborhood celebrating name change with Dunleath Porchfest

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- People in one of Greensboro's oldest neighborhoods are embracing an upcoming name change and re-branding the neighborhood with a live music event.

The city council will vote on a recommendation to change the Charles B. Aycock Historic District to the Dunleath Historic District next month.

On Saturday, people in this neighborhood will turn their porches into stages for the first Dunleath Porchfest. Everyone is invited to walk to the houses displaying "Porch Host" signs and listen to live music, while the neighborhood showcases its historic homes and shares what the new name means to this community.

"We are a neighborhood of porches," said Jinni Hoggard, who's lived in this neighborhood for 30 years.

"It fits in with that Southern tradition of neighbors helping neighbors and community building," said Shawn Patch. He helped organize Porchfest and will perform on Saturday too.

The neighbors themselves voted on the name change this spring, cutting ties with the "Charles B. Aycock" title. Aycock was a leader in 19th century public education, but he was also a spokesman in white supremacy campaigns.

"Personally, I am pleased with the name change," Patch said. "There were lots of good reasons to do it and the new name fits well with the community."

The community chose "Dunleath," because it's the first estate on record settled in the neighborhood in the 1850s.

"Something that is more representative to the history of the neighborhood and less representative of a history of oppression," said Anthony Cuda, who lives in the neighborhood.

Not every neighbor was happy with the change.

"People don't know anything about Dunleath and so we've totally got to retell everyone who we are, why we are named what we are named," Hoggard said.

But they are excited to see the community come together.

"We are a vibrant, functioning, wonderful neighborhood, and this Porchfest will help bring in people to see that and to see the houses and the architecture," Hoggard said.

It's a neighborhood defined by both its porches and its people.

"We are a great neighborhood. We love for people to come visit us and be part of us," Hoggard said.

"It's nice to have that connection with the history as it was more than 100 years ago and to really live it on a daily basis," Patch added.

Dunleath Porchfest runs tomorrow from 12 to 5 p.m., with a finale performance at Sternberger Park at 4 p.m. More than 20 acts will perform.

The event is free, but organizers are accepting canned food to donate to the One Step Food Pantry.