Lewisburg calendar full of good events, especially in May

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

By Karen Hall


Outdoor events in Lewisburg will start with a bang in May, with Mayfest on the square on the 2nd, and Rotary's Festival on the Rocks in Rock Creek Park from May 19-23. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to perform at the Dixie on the 23rd.

These dates, and others, were discussed at the second meeting of the Event Square group, held at Lewisburg City Hall last week.

"We want an event every month, in the event season," said City Manager Randall Dunn. "And we want them square-centric, if possible."

Another big month for events is October, with Octoberfest on the 3rd, Goats Music and More the next weekend, and Halloween at the end of the month. June also has two events in Rock Creek Park: Bark in the Park and Relay for Life.

Dunn pointed out that the bigger variety of activities on any one day, the more people are likely to attend.

"Part of this has economic development goals," he said. "We want people to think about doing business here, and we want people to come here and spend money."

July, August and September are the months that don't have events on the square scheduled right now.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ritaanne Weaver suggested a big-band dance on the square for September. Lewisburg's Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe suggested a themed Happy New Year party. This could be held on the square on a summer night. A specific year would be selected, for instance 1969, and everyone would come dressed in the style of that year, dance to that year's music, and eat that year's most popular foods.

Another summer night event Lowe suggested was a nice dinner on the square, perhaps focusing on produce from local farms.

"There is a need for something like that," said Donna Roberts. "We used to have the Heart Gala."

Lisa Jackson agreed with her, adding, "We should work with the Dixie. They are the jewel of the square."

"One or more events should be Dixie-centered," recommended Lowe.

"We could do dinner and a show," said Dunn, though Faris Phillips cautioned that when a production is being prepared the theatre is busy for six to eight weeks.

"April and August are open this year," she said.

Roberts asked about showing movies at the Dixie, but Phillips pointed out they would need a screen and a digital projector.

Dunn talked about work at Rock Creek Park which will be starting soon. It includes building a pervious parking lot behind the Farmers Market pavilion. The city got a grant to build the eco-friendly parking lot, whose surface will allow rain water to soak into the ground instead of running off as storm water. The new parking lot behind the pavilion will replace the paved parking lot at the foot of the hill, which will become a green space. The hill will be terraced to make an amphitheater. All overhead utility wires will be put underground, and the sound booth will be moved so it no longer blocks anyone's view of the stage.

The work may require groups holding events in the park to make some compromises.

"We will have to interface with you all to make provision to accommodate events," said Dunn.

"There could be work at Rock Creek Park this summer and possibly the next," added Lowe.

"Our goal is to have the parking lot, utilities, and amphitheater done by Goat Fest," Dunn said.

Discussion turned to events already on the calendar, and how to improve them. The Chamber of Commerce is looking at adding a fireworks show to the Fourth of July events. Halloween festivities will probably stay at the Rec Center, perhaps with the addition of a parade from the square to the Rec Center. The Christmas parade will be on Dec. 5.

"We want more floats," exclaimed Lowe.

"And more bands," said Dunn.

Lewisburg Downtown Alliance President Leland Carden suggested prize money would attract more entries for the parade, and Register of Deeds Dorris Wayne Weaver pointed out people need a big indoor space to work on their floats.

Dunn said the city garage might be made available for this.

The goals of Event Square are to help existing events and their sponsors improve and grow; help with networking by being the storage place for event calendars, needs, and marketing; create new event ideas and find organizations to run them; and, collect positive and negative feedback after events and pass it on to sponsors.

The group will meet again on Feb. 19, with Mayfest its priority.