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The Inn — ten years and counting

By Bob Wingate for the Salisbury Post

The Inn in Salisbury, which celebrates its tenth anniversary tonight, has got to be one of the best kept secrets in town. Some people drive by, see a crowd or a parking lot full of cars, and wonder what’s going on there. Others have heard of The Inn, but don’t quite know what it is or where it is located.

Some think it’s a church. It’s not. Some think it’s a night club. It’s not really that either. Some say it’s a coffeehouse. Maybe — but a lot more. The reality is, it may be similar to all of the above, but it’s also distinctly different.

What is The Inn ?

•  It is a friendly place where all are invited and everyone is welcomed;

•  It is a community outreach center. It collects food and clothing and distributes them to Rowan Helping Ministries and the Pregnancy Support Center;

•  It is a house of worship. People often come here to be encouraged and have their faith strengthened;

•  It is also a first-class music venue, where soloists and bands from all over the Carolinas, and as far away as New York and California, come to perform.

Tom and Janet Millspaugh, along with several other couples, felt a calling to open a new and different kind of venue in 2006, a place where all kinds of people could feel at home and comfortable in a friendly, Christian environment. Many coffeehouses, clubs and listening rooms have come and gone since then, but, The Inn has managed to stick around and make a difference in the community, and in people’s lives.

When you walk into The Inn on a Saturday night, there’s an immediate feeling that this place is unlike any other place you’ve ever been. It may look like a club, but it’s non-alcoholic, and there is not a hint of profanity or vulgarity in language or behavior.

The hallway walls are lined with news articles, T-shirts, posters and other collectibles from all of the music bands that have performed there. Drinks and refreshments are usually found on a banquet table. Game rooms, including a popular pool room, a kitchen, and a green room for performers, are adjacent to the hallway.

The band room double doors open into an expansive space that is the entire width of the building. On the weekend the room is dimly lit, but with strobes or string lights adorning the walls and stage. If you look up, you will see an old green Air Force parachute hanging down as a canopy from the ceiling. Across the front of the sound booth there are a dozen or more bright lava lamps emanating out across the room. There are a couple of guitars, posters, and even a drum cymbal hanging on the back wall. And two or three lighted palm trees here and there.

Guests and regulars love sitting on the comfortable couches while relaxing and listening to music. Some may prefer a nice, padded chair or one of the tables in the room.

As decorative and appealing the ambience is at The Inn, its biggest draw is the live music. Although it has maintained a policy of encouraging any and all styles of music, from country to bluegrass to hip hop, the usual flavor of the night is Christian rock music. You will hear guitars, drums and vocals booming out of a state-of-the-art sound system. The music may sound a bit familiar, but the lyrics are decidedly and purposefully different. They speak a positive message of love and redemption through Jesus Christ.

The Inn is a place that most should go and check out at least once. It’s a unique venue with a distinctive flavor. This Saturday night is an excellent time to drop by and see what it’s really all about.

The Inn tenth anniversary celebration will feature :

•  Five bands  — Never Forsaken, Bought by Blood, Scarred, All of a Kind, and Relentless Flood — providing continuous musical entertainment from 6 p.m. to midnight;

•  Local comedian Scott Meade, dubbed “The Cooleemee Clown,” as emcee for the evening;

•  Radio station WBFJ from Winston-Salem, with a live broadcast, crowd interviews and giveaways from 6-8 p.m.;

•  Smitty’s Catering, the food vendor for the evening, and free soft drinks (courtesy of Cheerwine).

The Inn’s past anniversaries have drawn large crowds, so if you plan to attend, come early for good seating.  Admission is free; however, it is also a fundraiser for The Inn, and offerings will be taken for that purpose. Come and celebrate!

What: The Inn’s 10th Anniversary

When: This evening, 6 p.m. to midnight

Where: 1012 Mooresville Road

Info: Call Tom at 704-213-1467 or visit 

www. facebook.com/events/ 794960463942701/

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