Tami Langdon: A Legacy of Dedication and Community Building in Mocksville

Community Development Coordinator Tami Langdon (middle) catches up with Officer Karen Austin and Joy Underwood, owner of SouthernMood.

One of Mocksville’s most dedicated champions is retiring. Tami Langdon has been a fixture in downtown Mocksville for over 25 years, serving as a volunteer, a business owner, and, most recently, as the Town’s community development coordinator. On October 1st, she will be stepping away from her position and returning to life as a resident. But that doesn’t mean she’s planning to slow down. When asked about her retirement plans, she eagerly shared her thoughts:

“I’m going to spend time with my three very humorous grandkids. They are teenagers now and understand my personality well and really understand my sarcasm. We’ve had less time together as they have gotten older, so now is the time to be with them.”

“I inherited the care of a lovely senior after my mother’s death. She is 92 and teaches me words of wisdom. I’d also like to volunteer with other seniors who need a companion or perhaps a helping hand here or there.”

Laughingly, she added, “I should also spend some time with my husband. He won’t know what to do with me, spending all of our time together. And I’ll probably enjoy more wine. Yeah, it is for medicinal purposes, you know,” she said with a grin.

Additionally, she plans to continue supporting and mentoring her successor, Jennifer Evens, who began training alongside her in June. “I told Jennifer I’d like to hang with her till the end of December and help her get through bed races and the Christmas parade. Those events are hard with a one-person department, and I won’t do that to a new person. After that, I’ll be available to give her some hints and some pointers, but I want Jennifer to add a new young flair to this place called Mocksville. She’s got ideas for a couple of new events, which I think is great. It’s exciting to see the energy she and the new younger merchants are bringing to the Town.” 

A Journey to Mocksville and a Commitment to Community

Langdon and her family moved to Mocksville from the St. Louis area almost 37 years ago. The country was heading into a recession, and her home state of Illinois seemed to be going bankrupt. Since her grandparents had property here, they decided to move to Winston-Salem. When her daughter turned 5, they moved to Mocksville because of Davie County’s excellent school system. They quickly fell in love with the warm, welcoming community. Langdon’s involvement in community initiatives began with Habitat for Humanity, while her husband became a part of the Arts Council. 

Her passion for rejuvenating the downtown area blossomed when she relocated her dance studio from Farmington to what is now the Four Oaks Event Center.  “The merchants would watch us as we fixed up the building inside. I thought it was curious how they turned over a little sign that said open. Then they changed the arrows on the clock for an hour and closed for lunch. Then they changed the arrows at 5 p.m. to say closed. I thought, ‘What are you doing? How are you going to get anyone here?’”

Upon speaking with Mary Lou Musselman and other merchants, Langdon learned about a past merchant group and took the initiative to revive it, hosting breakfast meetings at her dance studio. This led to initiatives like Concerts on the Square, Friday night karaoke, and a quarterly magazine publication in collaboration with Laurie Slate from Able Graphics Printing Corp. These efforts aimed to draw people to the downtown area. Gradually, merchants extended their hours, enhancing the vitality of the downtown.

Her involvement with the merchant association evolved into assisting the Town in organizing events. She fondly recalled working with her predecessor, Leon Carter, on the initial Daniel Boone Festival and Oktoberfest, which later became the Oaks Festival.

“The Daniel Boone Festival initially took place in August, coinciding with Daniel and Rebecca’s wedding date. We hosted a play and had reenactors. I suggested moving it to May because August was just too unbearably hot for outdoor events, especially on asphalt.”

“I love the Daniel Boone Festival because of the history behind it, and I know so many of those vendors. Many of them won’t be here in a few years, and you will no longer be able to find these handmade items. These are not products that come from China.” 

“We started Oktoberfest with the help of Arthur and Dagmar Beich,  who owned a German restaurant downtown. It eventually became too expensive because the food came down from New York, so we transitioned to the Four Oaks Festival.”

From Special Events to Community Development

When Carter retired, Langdon stepped into the role of community development coordinator, where she became a versatile figure, handling tasks ranging from planning physical projects for the town to organizing special events and even taking on odd jobs like cleaning up trash, tending to flowers, or counting feral cats. She believed no task was too big or small if it benefited the town.

This attitude endeared her to the community. Town Manager Ken Gamble praised her contributions, saying, “Tami’s efforts in community development have truly been the lifeblood that pumps through our downtown. She has formed great partnerships over the years to improve the appearance of downtown, attract businesses, promote events, and bring a great sense of fun and community to the Town center.” 

During her tenure, she added the “Twas the Night Before” bed races, Summer Beach Days concert, Movies in the Park, Christmas Holiday events throughout the month of December, and Summer Fun projects with Julie Whittaker and Karen Martin of the Davie County Public Library. She was quick to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of many individuals who contributed to the success of these events.

“In the early days, this role was primarily focused on special events, but it’s evolved beyond that. Now, it’s about connecting with the entire downtown community, including businesses and services, and supporting their growth.”

Langdon expressed satisfaction with completed beautification projects such as banners, murals, new planters, and the initial stage of wayfinding signage. She believes there’s still more to accomplish as funds become available.

“We’re fortunate. When representatives from other Main Street Communities visit our town, they are impressed by the diversity of our businesses and the clean, appealing streetscape. Our wayfinding signs have received positive feedback.”

She takes pride in the spirit of collaboration that has flourished between the non-profits, community services, and other businesses. “The floodgates are open, and we’re sharing and communicating. We are all promoting the town together. It is running like a rainbow now.”  

Saying Goodbye and Looking Forward

Langdon admitted that she will miss the town’s staff and departments, the merchants who have played a pivotal role in shaping Mocksville, and the friendships she has formed over the years. She also expressed gratitude to those who offered criticism, as their differing perspectives challenged her thinking and decision-making.

“I have no regrets. I love this town and this community. It’s been kind to me. It’s been quite a ride. It’s been bumpy along the way, but I’ve enjoyed the bumps. Without the bumps, you don’t learn, you don’t grow.” 

Even in retirement, Langdon won’t be far from the town’s heart. You will still find her at concerts, festivals, and downtown activities. However, this time, she’ll be seated with a glass of wine in hand, ready to savor and enjoy the vibrant community she helped build.”