And the Bands Play On….

Summer on Trade continues to draw awesome crowds every Saturday night.  Different band each week, different kind of crowd.  But always one thing in common:  People get up and dance.  West End Mambo, a well established local band that plays energetic Latin rhythms, packed the 6th & Trade dance “floor” this past Saturday with people doing all kinds of variations of Latin dance, salsa, rumba, samba, merengue, cha-cha, mambo-sambo-rambo, cha-cha-cha-choo-choo, tango-mango……

I was at my usual station, painting hats at a table in front of my shop (Willy Nilly) when a woman stopped and remarked that she’d never seen such a crowd at a gallery hop.  “No, gallery hop was last night,” I attempted to explain to her. “This is Summer on Trade music series, every Saturday night throughout the summer.”

DWSP: Alphabet Scoop du Jour

I then tried to clarify further that Summer on Trade is a production of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership (DWSP) along with some generous corporate partners, especially Truliant Federal Credit Union. This is its 15th year!! (Even though it draws a decent crowd every week, it continues to amaze me how many local people don’t know about what I consider one of downtown W-S’s finest –and FREE– events.)  The stage goes  up at the 6th & Trade Street intersection, with the adjacent blocks of Trade and 6th streets barricaded so that people and cars don’t mix it up. Several shops and galleries stay open late for the event, especially those located close to the intersection.

DADA:  Alphabet Scoop du Jour, Part Deux

Gallery Hops, I explained to her, are produced by the Downtown Art District Association (DADA) and are held the first Friday of every month, all year ’round. They involve the entire Art District, with the entire area blocked off from vehicular traffic in favor of such outdoor activities as the recent Tomato Tasting, belly-dance performances,  and much more.  All the studios, galleries and shops keep late hours for gallery hops, many holding receptions to open new art exhibitions.  There are usually other vendors and organizations which arrange with DADA to set up a booth or table in the street.

AFAS:  Alphabet Scoop gone Animal Crackers

The woman was still somewhat bewildered at the thought of so much activity on Trade Street. I decided to boggle her mind a little further when I mentioned that in October we’d have Arts On Sunday, a series of Sunday afternoon art fairs produced by Art for Art’s Sake (AFAS).  Her poor head was reeling by now, so I decided to save the detailed explanation for the blog.

The Trade Street Corollary of the Law of Attraction

Now, it seems everybody wants to jump onto the Trade Street bandwagon, as it continues to grow in popularity as a venue for other events.  In July it played host to Krispy Kreme‘s 75th Anniversary Celebration Bash, which featured a terrific party band and free Krispy Kreme products, especially their famous doughnuts, served hot off a mobile version of  a doughnut bakery.

Earlier this year we welcomed Habitat for Humanity‘s annual BirdFest, a fundraising effort that for years took place near their ReStore off Stratford Road in an area bordering the historic Ardmore neighborhood. The move to Trade Street was a win-win situation for both Habitat and the Arts District.

Next month we look forward to Bookmarks Book Festival, returning to the Downtown Arts District for the 3rd straight year.  This year they’ve expanded the footprint for the festival to include the Urban League at 5th and Trade Street and the Downtown School and the 7th and Trade intersection.  Personally, I’m super-pleased to be near the Main Stage at 6th and Trade.  Besides being just beyond the doorstep of my shop, it will open with the appearance of Woody Durham, the famous Voice of the Tar Heels for 40 years. Being a die-hard Tar Heel born and bred (my father was an alumnus, Class of ’49, and I graduated in the Class of 1976), I have to answer the call to meet a man whose voice has been such an important part of my life!!

For once, my art-world and my sports-world will collide.  Gotta bookmark this.

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