Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

SALISBURY — This Friday Night Out was Arts Night Out, and the downtown streets showed it.
Many lined up to hear Too Much Sylvia play at Brick Street Live, held on newly-reopened Fisher Street.
Gina Miller is co-owner of Miller Davis Productions, which puts on the Brick Street Live concerts. She said crews repairing a damaged brick facade at Benchwarmers “did a great job … getting the businesses open and the people working.”
Others gathered under awnings on South Main Street to hear amateur musicians play, or to get a drawing made by a sketch artist.
Joseph Heilig, of Salisbury, was one such artist. He set up just a short walk off the Square.
“I’m a quick sketch artist! Five dollars,” Heilig said to passers-by as they walked on.
He didn’t have to be asked twice, but eagerly showed off his portfolio — a ring binder full of samples of his art.
Coming to Friday Night Out, Heilig said, gives him a lot of enjoyment.
“I get to speak to people, you know — get to meet many new people. Tourists as well as locals. It’s nice out here,” Heilig said.
He said most of the people he sketches are kids whose parents want a memento.
That, Heilig said, “and young couples. A guy and his girlfriend might stop by.”
As if by design, a few minutes later, a former customer of Heilig’s recognized him.
Melody Barnette, her daughter Brianna and Brianna’s boyfriend, Graham Russell, all stopped to talk to Heilig, who had drawn several sketches of the Barnette family.
“I was like 7 in that picture, and I’m 17 now,” she said.
Before long, Brianna and Graham were sitting on the sidewalk bench while Heilig went to work on a brand new sketch.
Cheryl Goins, owner of Pottery 101, said she embraces Friday Night Out as a way to promote her business.
Her shop was open for a showing of paintings, in addition to the pottery that’s normally on display.
“A lot of people have questions about the pottery, who made it, how was it made,” Goins said.
The shop also offers lessons and studio time for potters.
“What I think the Night Out is about … is getting people downtown,” Goins said.
“I don’t measure its success by whether someone buys something or not.”
They didn’t have to worry about not selling items down at The Candy Shoppe on Main, further down the block.
The official grand opening was followed by a stampede.
“Once they cut the ribbon, I mean, it was just a surge,” said owner Tyler Vick.
Although it was tough to find a place to stand at some points, Vick said the store’s grand opening was intentionally planned.
“From the moment we started talking about this, we said no matter which month we end up opening, it’s going to be on Friday Night Out,” Vick said.
Hannah McLimore and her brother Dalton stood by the counter while their mother, Suzanne, rang up the family’s purchases.
“We got almond bark, chocolate covered pretzels, a pecan tortoise,” Hannah said.
In short, enough chocolate to last for at least the rest of Friday Night Out.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.