Editorial: The many lessons reinforced by Pops at the Post

  • Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 6:30 a.m.

Another Pops at the Post has come and gone. It’s hard to believe the community has gotten together 10 times now for a laid-back night in which we basically pull up our lawn chairs and listen to a summer night’s worth of beautiful music from the Salisbury Symphony.

Of course, there’s more to it than that — the fellowship, the food vendors, the tailgating, the free Cheerwine and, most important, the sense of community. The North Carolina Main Street Association ranks Pops at the Post as the best downtown special event in the state.

The idea of putting the symphony performers under the Salisbury Post loading dock and having their audience fill South Church Street and all the nearby parking lots probably raised some eyebrows in 2005, the year of the original concert celebrating the newspaper’s 100th birthday.

The street’s trees made for obstructed views. What effect would the loading dock have on the symphony’s sound? Where would people park? Would it rain? Will it be too hot? Is June the best time to have this?

Somehow it all worked out, and the continuing success of Pops at the Post and several other events in Rowan County provide lessons to which we should always pay attention.

People like to be outdoors.

People like to be with other people. They enjoy outings which they can attend as couples, as members of a group, or as a family. They like to be part of something.

It helps when it’s free, but they also want to be entertained.

They like things simple.

They prefer to have options in food and drink.

They like to be casual.

One thing you always hear after Pops at the Post is, why don’t we do things like this more often? People seem to be begging for events fitting many of the criteria above.

Think of the Friday Nights Out in downtown Salisbury when residents, seldom seen in the central business district otherwise, flood the streets because it’s something to do, a happening, a community event. They can stop and listen to a street band, browse tables outside of stores, pop into a place to eat or just walk up and down the sidewalks, pausing to chat with friends.

They can spend nothing and still feel like they’ve had a special night.

Or how about the highly successful Friday night movies at City Park, Autumn Jubilee at Dan Nicholas Park, Farmers’ Day in China Grove and the summer concert series in Kannapolis.

They all have certain things in common: They’re inexpensive, outdoors, entertaining and give people a chance to feel like they are part of something.

It shows we’re not a society completely devoted to televisions, cellphones and laptops. We crave something more.

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