‘Pumped and ready to go’: City staff excited about Saturday’s Cheerwine Festival

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2018

SALISBURY — Last year, the Cheerwine Centennial Celebration brought an estimated 30,000 people to downtown Salisbury in honor of the soft drink’s 100th birthday.

On Saturday, the second annual Cheerwine Festival aims to be as popular.

“The weather is going to be perfect,” said City Manager Lane Bailey at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “And we’re going to have a big celebration and recognize, certainly, a Salisbury original.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Nick Aceves, Communications Director Linda McElroy, Downtown Salisbury Inc. Director Larissa Harper, event coordinator Vivian Koontz and DSI promotions coordinator Katelin Rice gave an update on what the festival will include.

“It is family-friendly. We’re expecting a big crowd. It will be rain or shine,” Aceves said.

The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. between Bank and Liberty streets downtown.

There will also be activities on Fisher, Innes and Council streets.

Aceves said a variety of bands will play along with street entertainment by the likes of stilt walkers.

“I know everybody wants to see stilt walkers,” Aceves said.

Aceves said Rice and Koontz are the “experts” on the festival.

“Let me just preface this by saying this takes 12 months to plan. They did it in about five-and-a-half months,” Aceves said.

Aceves thanked every city department for its help.

“This is going to be a full city effort. Even county folks and outside city folks will assist as well,” Aceves said. “We’re pumped and ready to go.”

Other things to know include:

• Some roads will be closed beginning Friday night.

The 200 block of North Main Street between Liberty and Council streets will close at 8 p.m. Friday.

The 100 block of North Main Street and 100 and 200 blocks of South Main Street between Innes and Bank streets will close at midnight Saturday.

Additionally, the 100 blocks of East and West Council Street and East and West Fisher Street will close at midnight Saturday.

The 100 blocks of East and West Innes Street will close at 6 a.m. Saturday.

• After the festival, roads could be closed until 1 a.m. Sunday.

The 100 blocks of East and West Innes Street will reopen at 9 p.m. Saturday. The roads will reopen sooner if they are cleared of vendors and festival materials.

• Parking will be available in some private lots, on the street and in public lots downtown.

Satellite parking will be available at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and West End Plaza.

• Cheerwine will not be free this year, but proceeds from all canned drinks sold at the official Cheerwine tent will go toward Rowan Helping Ministries.

All cans recycled at the festival will go to Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary.

For more information about the festival, visit salisburync.gov/cheerwine.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.