Come downtown Friday night

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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Some traditions die hard.

When the folks at tourism announced they were shutting down Olden Days this year and would rework the decades-old festival with something new and, presumably, much better next year, our first thought here was what about Friday night?

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For the better part of two decades, a Friday night concert has been the very successful kickoff of the Olden Days weekend, initially in late May and for the past decade, late June. And for a majority of those years, the Rhondels of Virginia Beach have been the opening performers.

We who organize the Summer Concert Series saw no reason to drop the Rhondels performance, and with the financial partnership of Margaret Carroll of the Ice Cream Parlor we booked the band for this Friday at 8 p.m.

Jim Abicht, owner of the Christmas Store and a legendary promoter of quality music here, is enthusiastically participating in providing the traditional on-street music events. He has booked Noteworthy to play on the Bank of Southside Virginia’s plaza beginning at 6 p.m.

There will not be a classic car show. The town has pretty much eliminated them on Main Street because of a proliferation of car clubs that wanted to hold exclusive events along the street each year. The town opted for an all-or-nothing approach to Main Street car shows, so that part of the evening will not happen.

It should be a grand evening, nonetheless. The town has agreed to close the 200 Block for the Rhondels concert on the assumption that the musicians will draw their usual large audience, and Jim’s performers in the 100 block will be worth the evening just by themselves.

So, come on downtown Friday. It won’t be called Olden Days. Tourism has named it a “Sweet Summertime Celebration.” No matter. The evening will be just as “olden” as ever, and we hope you will join in. And keep your fingers crossed. We’ve had two rainouts so far this summer and are hoping that spell is now broken.

As for the weekend, there will be activities wrapped around the “Sweet Summertime” theme. The Pagan River raft race will be held Saturday afternoon and downtown merchants are inviting people to shoot photos of themselves (I admit it took me a while to know what people meant when they talked about a “selfie”) and enter it in a contest they’re calling #SmileSmithfield. The competition will be on Instagram, and they’re offering gift certificates to folks who take the best pictures of themselves.

In keeping with that theme, the Isle of Wight Museum is featuring an antique camera exhibit.

And, of course, the Farmers Market will be held Saturday morning, as it is each week.