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Pops at the Post — Annual concert switches to new venue this year

By Maggie Blackwell
For the Salisbury Post

Pops at the Post, the annual outdoor symphony concert, is moving this year to a new location and starts at a new time.

The concert will be at the North Carolina Transportation Museum on Saturday, June 1, and starts at 7:30 p.m. The name of this year’s event is, “Pops at the Post, Railway Edition.”

For the past 10 years, the concert has been offered in downtown Salisbury in the large parking lot at the old First Bank. The symphony set up on the loading dock at the Salisbury Post, with the building creating a band shell of sorts, radiating the music to the concert-goers.

Robertson Foundation Executive Director Jason Walser advised the Pops board about six months ago that the area would not be available on June 1, and perhaps next summer as well. The parking lot has been pulled up in preparation for the construction of Bell Tower Green, a new park in downtown Salisbury. Construction of the park is estimated at 18 months.

Board members considered a number of venues, including the Salisbury High School stadium, Catawba College’s Keppel Auditorium, Rowan Cabarrus Community College and Livingstone College. Board co-chair Joe Morris says, “The museum seems to be the best option. We believe it will be successful. The Transportation Museum has been unbelievably hospitable to us, and we appreciate their welcoming us.

“We met with Mayor Jim Gobbel, the Spencer police chief and the town administrator; they couldn’t have been more welcoming. They’re very excited about the opportunity to have us, very supportive. I would say they are ‘gung-ho.’” Audrey Eudy also serves as co-chair and has been actively working to make this event a successful one.

The concert itself will be in the museum’s Back Shop, one of the first buildings visitors see as they approach the grounds. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own chairs to enjoy the event. Because the concert is indoors this year, weather doesn’t pose a challenge as it has in years past.

Tailgaters will set up north of the Back Shop, in the grassy area, and may arrive as early as 3 p.m. Because the Transportation Museum is open for business that day, tailgaters are coming a little later than normal so as not to interfere with museum guests. Tailgaters are encouraged to decorate their tents in one of two themes — patriotism or railroads.

The downtown Salisbury location only had room for 30 tailgating spots. With 60 spots at the Transportation Museum, more people can enjoy the party. Reservations will be accepted soon for tailgating spots.

Food vendors will be onsite and concert-goers may purchase from them or bring their own picnics.

Morris approached Gobbel’s wife Marla and asked if she would like to head a committee to feature the best that Spencer has to offer during the vent.

Marla Gobbel is excited to share that they’ve come up with a number of mini-events during the Pops. Her committee includes Spencer women Beth Nance, Jacquelyn Jenson and Drew Morris Roseman.

Because Spencer has recently legalized golf carts in the town limits, the women are holding a golf cart parade on museum grounds at 5:30 p.m. Golf carts are to line up at the Park Plaza parking lot, across the street from the museum, at 5 p.m. Participants are encouraged to decorate their golf carts. One golf cart will be selected as the winner.

The themes for both decoration contests are patriotism and railroads. Participants may select to decorate their golf carts or tailgate spot with either one of the themes.

Children aged 10 and under are encouraged to dress as “Little Railroaders.” Judges will select the cutest costumes and prizes will be awarded, one for boys and one for girls. Parents need to bring their Little Railroaders to the Competition Tent near the tailgating area at 6 p.m. for judging.

Earlier, there was talk of a brownie bakeoff, but the women have decided to delay that one for another year.

All contest winners will be awarded gifts from local Spencer merchants.

As in recent years, the Salisbury Swing Band will play from 5-7 p.m.

With this year being the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Maestro David Hagy has prepared a dynamic program celebrating the Armed Forces as well as transportation. Special guests will be veterans of World War II, and about 50 seats at the front of the venue have been reserved for any veterans and their families.

The program this year features Livingstone student Tyvaun James, a pianist who performs, in Hagy’s words, “About the best piano improvisation I’ve ever seen.” He’ll accompany the orchestra in “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

Average attendance for Pops concerts has ranged from 3,000 to 4,000. The Back Shop accommodates 2,700 people and the tailgating area will accommodate about 400-500 tailgaters.

Special accommodations are being made to get high-quality sound to the tailgaters due to their distance from the orchestra.

The Transportation Museum has two parking lots with a total of about 400 spots. Additionally, the Plaza across the street offers about 200 spaces. Attendants will be on hand to assist with parking.

Golf carts with drivers will be available to shuttle anyone who needs a lift from the parking lots to the Back Shop. Vendors will offer food, snacks and drinks. First responders and police will be on hand as always to ensure the event is safe and family friendly. Restroom facilities are provided.

The concert will end 9:30 “-ish,” according to Hagy.

Schedule of events:

  • 3 p.m. — Tailgaters may arrive
  • 5-7 p.m. — Salisbury Swing Band performs
  • 5 p.m. — Golf Cart Parade lines up
  • 5:30 p.m. — Golf Cart Parade
  • 6 p.m. — Little Railroaders are judged at Competition Tent
  • 6:30-7:25 p.m. — Tailgate judging
  • 7:30-9:30 p.m. — Salisbury Symphony Orchestra performs

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