Starting this week, “Mill Around Late” will breathe life into downtown Clinton on the evening of every first Thursday of the month. The new event kicks off with the welcoming of the Southern Smoke BBQ’s food truck, live music and a plethora of downtown businesses participating.
The inaugural event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, May 4. The food truck from Southern Smoke, the popular Garland restaurant owned by Matthew and Jessica Register, will be in the parking lot at the west end of the courthouse across from Sessoms Jewelry. Chris Woodson, executive director for the Sampson County History Museum, will set up on a nearby bench to play guitar.
There will only be one food or treat vendor per month, by invitation, Clinton Main Street manager Mary Rose noted. She said the “Mill Around Late” event is another idea devised to bring people downtown.
“The Clinton Main Street Program Promotion Committee works diligently to promote opportunities for residents to take advantage of our vibrant downtown business community,” said Rose, who noted that the committee members organized and promoted the event so participating businesses could also offer extended hours. “We hope the first Thursday of each month will become a time for citizens to enjoy milling around downtown Clinton whether to shop, dine or just spend time with friends.”
Participating businesses, those who have committed to staying open late, include: Alfredo’s Ristorante Italiano; Annadale’s Gifts; Atrium Florist; Bryant’s Florist; Burney’s Sweets & More; Edna’s Florist; Hwy 55; Rebecca’s; Royal Gifts & Fine China; Tickled Pink Consignment; Sessoms Jewelry; Simply NC; Thee Christian Bookstore at Bryant’s; Unique Gifts by Jacquelynn; and Vance Street Market & Flower Shoppe.
Tickled Pink Consignment is promoting line dancing that evening in partnership with 122 Dance Avenue, another downtown business. They are partnering by having line dancing in the store at 6 p.m. If you dance, you will receive 10 percent off one item at Tickled Pink and $5 off a month’s membership at 122 Dance Avenue, Rose noted.
“We are encouraging downtown businesses to be creative to get customers in the door for this fun evening each month,” she remarked. “We have seen other communities in the state promoting events such as this to drive traffic into their businesses and provide after-hours opportunities to shop.”
Hosting the special events on the first Thursday of each month also adds to the downtown docket, which during the summer features free concerts every third Thursday. This year is no exception, as the seventh annual Alive After Five Summer Concert series will kick off later this month.
The series, sponsored by the City of Clinton, County of Sampson and held at the Clinton City Market located on Lisbon Street with AA5 mainstay Liquid Pleasure on Thursday, May 18. Another show, featuring Too Much Sylvia, will be held on Thursday, June 15. There is a two-month hiatus before the series returns in September and October with beach music moguls Band of Oz on Thursday, Sept. 21, and The Embers featuring Craig Woolard on Thursday, Oct. 5.
As far as the “Mill Around Late” event, the Clinton Main Street Program’s Promotion Committee is working on a list of vendors and scheduling months now if a vendor is interested. They may contact my office at 910-299-4904.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.