Earth Night draws crowds

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SALISBURY — Earth Day might not be a big holiday on most people’s calendars, but it’s a perfect excuse to have an environmentally-conscious party.
The first of Downtown Salisbury Inc.’s Friday Nights Out drew hundreds out to local businesses.
Celebrating the coming of spring with shorts and T-shirts, they flooded the sidewalks to get their faces painted, enjoy sweet treats and find old friends in the crowd.
“We go to our favorites,” said Andrea Bitzer. She, husband Michael and son Drew stopped in at The Sweetest Thing bakery and restaurant on East Innes Street.
Friday was Drew’s sixth birthday.
“He wants to go to the bouncy house,” Andrea said.
Aside from the inflatable playground, other attractions included clowns, a classic car show and singing.
Music echoed throughout the center of the city.
In front of Okey Dokey & Co. General Store, Marty and Friends played to a crowd of their fans. They’re Friday Night Out regulars.
Out at Culture Image Reggae Store, three new friends — Devin Forkel, Brandon Snow and Tonya Maynor — played together for the first time.
All three are local college students. Forkel played an African drum, while Snow played guitar and Maynor a saxophone.
“It’s just for the fun of playing,” Snow said.
The eco-conscious were represented on the streets of Salisbury, as interest groups passed out literature on earth-friendly lifestyles, such as vegetarianism.
A different kind of environmental awareness was brewing at Salisbury Wine Shop.
Owners Steph and Bob Potter had organic beers and wines on special during Earth Night Out.
“The best seller has been the Weeping Willow Wit,” Steph said.
That’s a Belgian style wheat beer made in Kinston by Mother Earth Brewing.
The Potters said they’ve met new customers as a result of Friday Nights Out.
Many stores had special treats for buyers.
Peanut Doodles, a craft and scrapbooking store on East Innes Street, had free five-minute “make and take” crafts, as well as chocolate for visitors.
Customers at Literary Bookpost got a free book if they spent more than $10.
And plenty of vendors had treats to soothe the sweet tooth.
Events like the Friday Night Out series are inherently eco-friendly, after all. Local shopping gets people out walking and helps support the local economy.
Betz McKeown, of Downtown Salisbury Inc., said that the events were a great boost to those businesses that participate.
And participation, she said, seemed higher than ever.
“The more businesses that stay open, the more it excites the city,” McKeown said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.