That a count of more than 950 was a dip in attendance shows just how popular the summer outdoor concert series has grown in popularity among
Begun by the
"I think it's indicative of the kind of renaissance
In addition to free music, the event features kid-friendly activities, room for little ones and four-legged members of the family to run, and a casual atmosphere that attracts the young and the not-so-young. It's a formula that seems to be working this summer.
The month closed out with 1,529 turning out for Against the Grain, Cary said.
"I thought it would drop off because of vacation, but a lot of young families were there who say this is what they do every Friday," Cary said.
The chamber hopes that the event will encourage concertgoers to patronize local businesses in the commercial corridor of
The first concert of August attracted people of all ages, along with their four-legged friends. As the sun set, more trickled into the parking lot to take part in the fun.
Many young families said they can socialize with friends and unwind after a long work week while their kids run around and play with their friends.
"I like that we can bring our son with us. It starts early enough that we can get home before bedtime," said
"It's family friendly and a good community event," Megan said.
"What we like about it is that it does have a small town feel, even though it's near
Face painting provided by the
There are times that the lines are so long for face painting that it's hard to manage, Elliott said.
The chamber acquired a liquor license to sell beer and wine at the event. The lack of alcoholic beverages available for purchase had been a disappointment to some who used to buy beverages at
Forty percent of net profits raised from beer and wine sales are donated to a rotation of local nonprofits, while the rest goes to the chamber.
Still, the event raised
"It's great for the community -- it brings people into
"It means that the good work that we do in the community can be spread further," said Many Anne Rishebarger, area governor for the
The event moved the short block from the former location last year to accommodate a larger crowd.
One of the founding members of the event,
Witzke called the decision to relocate the event a "disappointment."
"Our focus was entirely about the community -- not about making it bigger," Witzke said. "The vision has been taken away and the soul has been taken out."
Witzke, who implemented the concert series with former chamber President
"The entire point of it was that the local businesses benefited from it. It was not meant to generate income," Brookhart said.
Each week, a different band is invited to play music on a stage set up in the parking lot, located on
"Playing outside is always a lot of fun," said Jeremy Gilless, the band's singer who teaches guitar lessons at Bill's Music on
"It's a town that I love," he said, "so I'll do anything I can to help out."
Among those in the crowd was
"It's great -- you can tell everyone is a music fan," said Aylsworth, as she sat next to her fiance
"It's a nice centralized location where everyone can come and sit down, relax and watch live music at the end of the week," she said.
She was seated with her husband,
"It's nice that the kids can run around and play, and we don't really have to worry about them," Simmons said.
That gives her and her husband more time to enjoy the music, she said.
"It's a nice family event and a free, fun time," Simmons said.
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