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Get ready to do some dancing on the lawn! The city of Wilson’s annual 1st Fridays on the Lawn community concert series will not only bring diversity through music but also a connection to community needs.
The goal of the concerts is to bring music to Wilson not typically heard in venues around town.
1st Fridays on the Lawn will kick off July 5 with the R&B music of the On the Edge Band. On The Edge is a Top 40 band from Charlotte.
The events will continue the first Friday of each month through October.
An Eagles tribute band, “EAGLEWING” will play on Friday, Aug. 2. The country music band RT Johnson will play on Sept. 6. Wrapping up the concert series will be the Latin rock band Los Acoustic Guys on Oct. 4.
The free community concert series will be held 6 to 9 p.m. on the Wilson County Library lawn, 249 Nash St.
“With every event the Human Relations Office sponsors we look to engage, educate and celebrate,” said Renee Smith, Human Relations director.
“The music helps us celebrate and the community partners engage and educate residents of resources available.”
Community booths are an integral aspect of the concert series. The Human Relations Commission encourages non-profit organizations to engage with the community by setting up an educational or outreach booth at the concerts.
Approximately a dozen community booths can participate each month to help residents of Wilson learn more about services available in the community. Applications are available in the office or on the city of Wilson website. Each community organization donates a door prize. Drawings are held during intermission.
National Night Out is a nationwide effort to highlight the police and community partnership against crime. This celebration will be combined with the Aug. 2 concert. The commission will partner with the Wilson Police Department, Wilson Fire and Rescue, EMS, 911, Wilson County Rescue, Wilson County Emergency Management and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office to hold a collaborative event.
New this year, the commission is seeking to add one or two food trucks that will bring something different to the event. Local food vendor favorites will return bringing hamburgers, hot dogs, snow cones and a fish fry. Food vendors and trucks will be set up nearby on Jackson Street.
Each concert evening, when the band takes a break, families will be able to enjoy intermission acts. These acts vary from local dance studio performances to a variety of cultural activities to continue the diversity theme. A belly dance troupe will come in September. Other groups, such as African dance and an ukulele band are being explored.
The Wilson Youth Council will host an inflatable water slide in the free kids’ area in both July and August. An inflatable obstacle course will come in both September and October. A separate bounce house will be open for smaller children.
“There are many events around Wilson people can attend,” Smith said. “We aim for these concerts to not only be fun and entertaining but also educational and help the community learn more about what Wilson has to offer.”
HELPING WITH SHELTER
The Human Relations Commission will promote a donation drive during the concert series to support Hope Station’s new family shelter — the Westview House. The Human Relations Office donation drive project started with the Wilson Youth Council. The teen leadership group collected donations for two years in a row and held a benefit concert to support the new family shelter. The donation drive will continue with a different item being collected each month.
Concert attendees are asked to take donations needed for the new family shelter.
During the July concert, they are seeking donations of socks for men, women or children.
In August the collection will focus on school supplies.
In September, the donation drive will switch to collect children’s books for the library corner.
The donation drive will wrap up in October by collecting toiletries and health items such as shampoo, shower gel, deodorant and toothpaste.
PLAN TO GO?
The show must go on — rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will still be held but will move down the street indoors to the Boykin Center. The schedule will remain the same with the doors opening at 5 p.m. and the music starting at 6 p.m. If possible, food vendors will park curbside, and some community booths will set up in the lobby.
1st Fridays on the Lawn is an alcohol-free event. Organizers prefer for pets to be left at home; the music and large crowd can be overwhelming for even the friendliest pet. Families are encouraged to take lawn chairs, a blanket and even a picnic from home.
For more information search “1st Fridays on the Lawn” on the city of Wilson’s website (WilsonNC.org) or contact the Human Relations Office by calling 252-399-2308.