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Great music is the No. 1 reason people attend the annual Pops at the Post event, but a close second has to be the fellowship. The event is in its ninth year and many in attendance have longstanding traditions of tailgating.
This year’s event theme was about community and no doubt the idea of community was ever present as tailgaters gathered Saturday alongside friends, family and strangers alike.
Most set up tents and tables as they backed their vehicles into parking spaces around the perimeter of the First Bank and Salisbury Post parking lots. There were elaborate decorations that included fresh flowers, candelabras and crisp linens.
This year’s event included the ever popular “1812 Overture,” “The ‘Salisbury Post’ March,” and some first-time performances that included hits by the Beatles and a piece from local musician Marc Hoffman, who is a composer, pianist and jazz vocalist.
Regular attendee Carrie Poole said what she loves about the event is that it allows everyone an opportunity to hear the Salisbury Symphony, even those who may never have been exposed to such music before.
The floral designer created a tablescape complete with fresh flowers and linens.
“Too much is usually just enough,” she said of her design.
For the second year in a row, Poole joined Bob Lambrecht, Jon Planovsky, Betty and Jim Carli, and Mary Ann McCubbin, in packing a table with tasty treats.
“We just have the essential creature comforts,” Poole said.
She even tried some new recipes for the event.
She said the group usually sets up in the same spot each year. They often welcome others to tailgate with them.
“Why I love this event is that it’s free and everybody can come,” Poole said.
Alison Bird and friend Kimi Matthews likely had one of the largest groups of tailgaters. The friends just threw together the design and execution of the their gathering. Bird invited castmates from the St. Thomas Players production of “Arcadia.”
She expected more than 40 people, including friends and neighbors to tailgate throughout the night.
Bird said she began attending the event in 2006 and has tailgated in the past with other friends.
Matthews and Bird said they’d been busy in the days leading up to the Pops at the Post event and sort of “winged it” when it came to a table idea. Matthews said she went to Clyde and asked for empty frames, horns and other items from the artist.
“We both come out, and it’s an opportunity to hang out with friends,” Matthews said.
Bird said she was most looking forward to the “Les Miserables” performance.
It was a girl’s night for Claire Richard and friend Betty Honeycutt as the two sat in camping chairs in front of First Bank.
“She introduced me to it. I love the music,” Richard said.
Richard said she doesn’t move like she used to, but she definitely can tap her feet.
“It’s a wonderful evening. We got here at 4:45. We brought pizza and we’ve got our water. We’re making an event of it,” she said.
Richard said the two planned to stay to the very “last sound of the trumpet.”
Marian Bernhardt and husband, Cliff, attended the event for the first time. Marian was drawn to the event for this year’s musical selections.
She was most looking forward to the “1812 Overture” and the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Bernhardt said.
“It’s fantastic to have this for the city of Salisbury,” Cliff said.
Miss Rowan County Katie Archer, who has been playing violin since she was 7, performed “Czardas” with the symphony.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity,” Archer said.
It was her first time attending the event and first time performing at the event. Archer is a violin performance major at Appalachian State University. Archer will represent Rowan County in a few weeks in the Miss North Carolina Pageant.
The Salisbury Swing Band also performed before the concert.
Friends John Rink, Dr. Frank Schafer and Gordon Hurley, whose family owned the Post and originally sponsored the Pops at the Post, maintain a comfortable spot each year in front of First Bank. The men sit in rocking chairs provided by Clyde to enjoy the show.
Dianna and Barron Monroe came out Saturday as a way to rekindle a little romance while also supporting their daughter, Dana, who was performing.
“We try to get out of our normal routine to enjoy life without our children,” Dianna said.
This is the second year Shara Dearmon and her family have attended. Others include husband, Timothy, and daughters, Skyy, 6, and Summer, 11 months. This year the family brought along Skyy’s friend, Zoe Proctor, 7.
“I like that the atmosphere is one where you are able to sit back and relax, listen to music,” Dearmon said.
It was also a special experience for Skyy, who has been playing violin for a year.
“I love music,” Skyy said excitedly.
The Dearmons tried to position themselves as close to one of the projection screens as possible, Shara said.
Whitney Ellis just happened to find herself at the Pops at the Post as she traveled from Philadelphia. On a whim, she decided to stop in Salisbury. Ellis was a guest of Dr. Gavin Misner and his wife, Fran.
“It’s been amazing. I keep listening to the song and thinking I like this song and saying I like that song too,” Ellis said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost.

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