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Downtown Beats and Eats is back with four free concerts and lots of good food.

The series kicks off on Saturday at 217 Brew Works with Chet Nichols and the Repeat Offenders taking the stage just after 1 p.m. followed by the Balter Brothers.

“We are really excited to be back up to a total of four events this year,” said Will Robl, event chairperson. “We only held two events last year, so we decided to feature two bands at each of those events. Increasing the number of events this year gives us the opportunity to bring in seven bands this year and offer a little more variety with their sounds.”

Last year, the series changed date, time and venue. Robl said organizers were pleasantly surprised with the results and the feedback.

“The series continues to evolve as we enter into our fourth season,” he said. “We have pushed the start time back to 1 p.m. We know that a lot of families have other obligations on Saturday mornings with sporting events and other social activities, so we hope that this will give them an opportunity to come out and enjoy an afternoon of great music, good food, and just spending time with family and friends.”

Susan Kellum, Downtown marketing and communications coordinator, said the event has grown each year from its start at Imagination Station. She said each year the event is evaluated and details tweaked.

“And that has worked,” she said, adding last year’s events averaged 400 to 500 people.

THE EVENT

The two bands playing Saturday should offer a nice variety.

Chet Nichols said he was happy and proud to be asked to play for a second time at the concert series. He describes his original music as Americana roots.

“Chet Nichols and The Repeat Offenders gives us a lot of original music by one of Wilson’s very talented singer-songwriters, and his backing band (Michael Hart, Dale Bryce and Joey Stultz) help give the songs an incredible energy,” Robl said.

The Balter Brothers are described as a “high energy jam band.”

The band members play songs they love and music that will get people up and moving. The band’s name is from the word balter, which means to dance for enjoyment.

The band gets its inspiration from the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Phish, Widespread Panic, Doobie Brothers, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Gary Clark Jr.

Downtown Beats and Eats has always relied on not just local music but also regional food trucks, and this year is no different.

Food trucks for this week’s events include CockADoodleMoo, Mack Avenue Eats, Chick-fil-A and Cupcake Dream.

Mack Avenue Eats operates out of Wilson and will be offering some food truck favorites including crab balls, shrimp burgers, shrimp baskets, fish baskets, chicken tender baskets and fries.

CockADoodleMoo is operated out of the Raleigh/Durham area and serves traditional and global barbecue and gourmet sandwiches. Saturday’s menu will include all kinds of yummy offerings such crispy smoked mac and cheese and A State Divided pulled pork sandwich. The sandwich is made from applewood hickory-smoked Heritage Farms Cheshire pork served on toasted brioche with crispy slaw and the choice of either vinegar- or tomato-based sauce. Or you might want to try The Raven made with N.C. brisket on toasted ciabatta with western barbecue sauce and mild Granny Smith apple-horseradish sauce.

Local folks are certainly familiar with Chick-fil-A and Cupcake Dream’s tasty treats.

Downtown Beats and Eats includes four Saturdays of music and good food from 1 to 5 p.m., and 217 Brew Works opens at noon. The Sept. 16 event features the bands Signal Fire and Matty Begs. The Oatmeal Conspiracy and Greg Humphreys Electric Trio will play Sept. 30, and TripleWide and special guests will draw a big crowd on Oct. 14.

N.C. craft beer will also be available. Robl said beer selections for first event are from Deep River Brewing Co. of Clayton, Foothills Brewing of Winston-Salem, French Broad Brewery of Asheville, Hi-Wire Brewing of Asheville, New Belgium Brewing of Asheville and 217 Brew Works in Wilson.

217 Brew Works is located at 217 South St. by the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park.

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