NEW SEASON: Music in the Streets, Saturday Market on the weekend schedule
Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2015
While the eastern North Carolina spring brings the bloom of flowers, the buzz of bees and, of course, yellow pine pollen coating the landscape, it also sets off a season of much-loved events.
Friday, the streets of downtown Washington will be blocked off for the first Music in the Streets of the year from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For over a decade, the mini open air music festival has entertained visitors and residents alike with a lineup of musicians, each staking out a spot, and drawing a crowd, on West Main Street. The event is held the third Friday of the month throughout the warmer months of the year, with this month’s MITS falling in with a cycling event — Cycle NC — that will bring over a thousand visitors to Washington this weekend.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” said Beth Byrd, executive director of Washington Harbor District Alliance, which organizes MITS and Saturday Market. “You know the last time that (the cyclists) came, they really enjoyed Music in the Streets, so we really wanted to make sure we had a good one for them.”
Friday’s entertainment includes TJ Jones and the Pamlico Sound Machine’s Motown, beach, jazz, pop and soul music; country, gospel and ‘60s rock band The Guys That Could Make It Tonight; rock and pop original singer/songwriter J Lane, out of Kinston; and the members of the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, whose mission is to keep traditional/bluegrass/old time music alive and well in Beaufort County.
Saturday, growers, bakers, coffee sellers and artisans will take over the western end of Stewart Parkway for the season’s first Saturday Market. The market, offering local goods, many handcrafted, homemade and homegrown. runs from 8 a.m. to noon.
“We should have fresh eggs, possibly honey, peanuts and many artisans,” Byrd said. “It just won’t be full-fledged yet.”
April’s Saturday Market will likely be a scaled down event, as the growing season has just begun, Byrd said. But what will be available for the first time ever is the ability to make purchases using debit cards and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards.
“This year we’re rolling out this service. We’re so happy to be able to accept SNAP cards and debit cards,” Byrd said, adding that making fresh food, straight from the farm, available for those on supplemental food programs is a service to the community and a way to expand the farmers’ marketing base. “We thought it would be a win-win that we could offer local produce.”
Byrd said WHDA has a very laid-back approach to Saturday Market—like customers, vendors may also vary from week to week.
“We try to make it very easy for vendors to participate, so we don’t really make them register for each market. So we don’t really know who will be there until they get there,” Byrd laughed.