Downtown pot o’ gold: Shoppers “go green” for Irish-themed First Friday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2015

By Hugh Fisher

SALISBURY — It’s not St. Patrick’s Day just yet, but Friday night, downtown started the “wearin’ o’ the green” a bit early.

For March’s First Friday, Downtown Salisbury, Inc. chose “Luck o’ the Irish” as a theme.

And shamrocks, green beads and other finery were the order of the night, as downtown’s streets were filled with shoppers and party-goers.

At 8 p.m., the Irish-themed pub crawl began.

Organizers originally planned to sell 300 tickets to this first-time event, said Mollie Ruf, promotions director for Downtown Salisbury, Inc.

“We like to start a little bit smaller and do it right. We don’t want to disappoint people,” Ruf said.

Due to high demand, Ruf said DSI added 60 more tickets at the start of the week, and a few more Friday, for a total of about 400.

Pub crawl participants received vouchers good at downtown restaurants and bars, most of which had Irish-themed drink specials.

A pre-pub crawl party at Lee Street Theatre kicked off at 5 p.m., while downtown merchants were open with special promotions.

Up on the Square, shoppers could trade in coins collected at downtown merchants for prizes or “Downtown Dollars” vouchers.

Dakeita Roakes and her daughter Hope Hawkins, 12, said they’d been to the Candy Shoppe on Main and Critters Cards & Gifts.

They traded in their coins for green pencils, bead necklaces, ink stamps and other goodies.

“And we got to try on costumes,” Roakes said. “Dinosaur heads!” Roakes said they’d had a lot of fun.

Brittany Holt and her cousin Tessa Sugden said it was their first time at a First Friday event. They moved here four months ago from Florida, Holt said.

Despite the cold, Holt said she’d enjoyed getting out downtown to shop. The two said they bought t-shirts at Dead Ed’s clothing shop.

“Downtown Salisbury has so much potential,” Holt said. “I can see this growing.”

At Uncle Buck’s, owner Judy Howard said the First Friday crowd was on par with other events in the series.

“It’s great. Everybody’s hanging out, having fun with friends,” Howard said. “Everybody’s having a blast.”

Nearby, Critters owner Bob Lambrecht said that crowds hadn’t been heavy, but also said the cold weather might have something to do with that. Temperatures dipped below freezing around sunset.

Lambrecht said the attention that First Friday events drew to downtown merchants was good.

Ruf said organizers were very pleased with the response to the first-time event, especially with the excitement that she said built as word spread.

“This will probably be on the event schedule for next year,” Ruf said. “We’re really starting to see Salisbury become a real hub of events.”

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.