Last updated: September 17. 2013 3:51PM - 1249 Views
By - cberendt@civitasmedia.com

Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentFantasic Shakers will bring another successful Alive After Five Summer Concert Series to a close Thursday in downtown Clinton.
Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentFantasic Shakers will bring another successful Alive After Five Summer Concert Series to a close Thursday in downtown Clinton.
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Bolstered by the best fundraising year in the Alive After Five Concert Series’ short history, the 2013 series enjoyed its highest revenues and attendance that soared through the summer, event organizers said. And, while the event is wrapping up another successful outing this week, it is just the beginning of a slate of events that will converge on the downtown through the rest of the year.

This year’s Alive After Five garnered well in excess of $100,000 in revenue from sponsorships and vendors, making it the most lucrative in the summer concert series’ three years of existence. While attendance has not necessarily grown exponentially — being on par with the high-end of figures seen in the short history of the event — sponsor numbers this year surpassed those from both 2011’s inaugural series and last year’s sophomore campaign, event organizer and Alive After Five committee member Ray Jordan has said.

The shows have taken place every third Thursday, beginning in May and running through September at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street. On those dates, “gates” open at 5 p.m. and concert begins at 5:45 p.m., extending until 8:30 p.m.

North Tower kicked off the third annual series in May, followed by Spare Change in June. July featured The Voltage Brothers, then Steve Owens and Summertime brought their award-winning beach music to town in August.

No stranger to Alive After Five, the Fantastic Shakers are set to close out the summer in style Thursday.

As with previous years, Jordan said the response from sponsors has been tremendous, with more new sponsors throwing their support behind the event, presented by the Sampson Arts Council, the City of Clinton and Sampson County.

“This is our best fundraising year in AA5’s three-year history,” Jordan said.

Clinton-Sampson Planning director and fellow AA5 event organizer Mary Rose said organizers received hugely positive feedback from this year’s expanded slate.

“We expanded it to include an additional show,” said Rose, “and we just heard about what a wonderful event it has been from sponsors and citizens. It’s really been great.”

Court Square Street Fair

Even though the music is dying down for the time being, it will be just a matter of weeks before the downtown is loud and proud again.

The 27th annual Court Square Street Fair and 20th annual Barbecue Cook-Off will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, and while details will be forthcoming in the weeks to come, Rose said the event will be more of the same, with expanded offerings and some activities moved closer to the downtown.

The Clinton Main Street Program coordinates the event, with the Sampson Arts Council, Sampson Regional Medical Center, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP), the Sampson Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sampson County History Museum, the Downtown Dash 5k Committee, the Ol’ Lightnin’ Rods Car Club and the City of Clinton all putting on events and various activities as part of the annual event.

Live music, dubbed “Music on Main,” is still on tap for Main Street Friday night preceding the fair and activities will begin bright and early the next morning with the second annual Downtown Dash 5k & Fun Run and the third annual Care Fair, sponsored by the hospital. Saturday’s main event is expected to kick off at 10 a.m., with everything from barbecue, baked goods, arts and crafts, antique cars, old-timey demonstrations and children’s games and rides among the event’s activities.

The Care Fair, held at the Center for Health and Wellness in years past, will be moving to City Hall this year, Rose noted. The fair’s accompanying Celebrando la Raza – Festival de la Calle, held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church during its inaugural year last year, will move to the parking lot across from First Baptist Church, 408 College St., next to Andrew Jackson’s law office.

“There have been a couple changes,” said Rose. “The Care Fair is coming to City Hall. That’s going to provide a great expansion back toward the downtown. The Hispanic fair will be in the parking lot across from First Baptist Church.”

Rose said the changes bring their own challenges, but said figuring out the logistics is a good problem to have.

“That’s going to be a lot of life on College Street,” Rose said. “We’re doing a lot of the same things; we’re just moving them around and expanding them.”

That will also mean closing more streets. The streets around the downtown square, as well as Lisbon Street extending down to the History Museum, are traditionally closed and will be again this year for the October event. However, this year, additional closures will include College Street, from Devane to Sampson streets, as well as all of Connesstee and Vance Street all the way down to Fisher Drive.

“That will all be closed,” said Rose. “It’s going to be a challenge to get all this information to the public, but we had to do this because the event is growing and we’re running out of space.”

She said that, while Alive After Five is coming to a close, upcoming events starting with next month’s annual street fair will ensure the downtown and surrounding area in Clinton stays busy.

Following the Court Square Street Fair, the Clinton Police Department’s Halloween event will return to the square at the end of October. Then, the holiday season will be in full effect at the beginning of December with the Chamber-sponsored Christmas parade and the Christmas in City.

“There are a lot of great events that will be going on through the fall and leading up to the Christmas holiday,” Rose said.

See the Sampson Independent for more information on the Court Square Street Fair as it becomes available.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at cberendt@civitasmedia.com.

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