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Where can you find a fun-filled evening of family entertainment for free?
Maybe the last place you’d expect: right in the heart of downtown Shelbyville.
The Street Party summer concert series kicks off this weekend with Renee Shepard playing Friday night and Cynthiana on Saturday.
Eilene Collins, executive director of Shelby Development Corporation, the entity responsible for maintaining a viable downtown environment, highly recommends the concert series as a great way to pass a very enjoyable evening.
“The music is great, there are food vendors, and everybody just brings their lawn chairs and coolers and has a great time,” she said. “I go to every single one of these except for one in September because I have another commitment.
“And I will say that if someone has not gone to one of these concerts, they have missed out on one of the most enjoyable things the county has to offer.”
The concerts run every Friday and Saturday night from May 28 to Sept. 18.
On Fridays, the music plays from 6 to 8 p.m. at public parking lot at 627 Main Street. On Saturdays, the shows run 7 to 11 and are at 5th and Main.
Shelby County Magistrate Hubert Pollett, who got the ball rolling for this event seven years ago, said mostly local bands will be playing.
“We have some really good bands,” he said. Two real popular ones are New Breed and Leo and the Moonlighters, because they play a variety of music: some country, some ‘80s music and some modern songs.
“Everyone has a lot of fun, and we even give away gift certificates for two hundred, three hundred and five hundred dollars at the end of each concert that you can use at a downtown business.”
Pollett, who is in charge of lining up the bands, said he had this idea because he wanted people today to be able to experience the kind of good times he had as a child.
“When I was a kid, it was a big thing on Saturday night to go hang out downtown, because it had everything: grocery stores and restaurants, even theaters,” he said. “Then as I grew up, that changed.
“Shopping centers and malls came in, and kids started saying there was nothing to do anymore—grown people, too. So I thought this would be a good way to bring that downtown experience back.
“There is just something about being downtown on a Saturday night.”
Pollett laughed when he recalled one time early on in the concert series when he brought a blues band in and discovered that Shelby Countians didn’t much care for the blues.
“I thought people here would like the band because they are a very popular blues band in Louisville, but it didn’t go over very well here,” he said. “They just didn’t click with our crowd.”
But since then, with a little feedback from Collins, he has learned what kind of music people in Shelbyville like, he said.
Collins added that no one can go to one of these concerts and not have a good time.
“They’re more fun than going to the circus,” she said.
Pollett recalled one very special night at a downtown concert.
“Magistrates are allowed to marry people, and I had just married this very cute young couple in an outdoor ceremony downtown,” he said. “We were setting up the concert tent, and they [the couple] asked what was going on.
“When I told them it was a free street party concert, they said it sounded like a lot of fun. So they came, and not only did they have a great time, but they won a gift certificate and used it to buy a dinette set at Tracy’s Home Furnishings. That’s what it’s all about.”
2010 Street Party Concert Schedule
• May 28: Renee Shepard
• May 29: Cynthiana
• June 18: Paul Martin
• June 19: New Daze
• July 30: Phil Kelley
• July 31: New Breed
• Aug. 27: Kentucky Blue
• Aug. 28: Leo & the Moonlighters
• Sept. 17: Fourth Watch
• Sept. 18: The Cracker Boys