There are certain things that our hometown of Quincy, IL really does right, and ‘Blues in the District’ is one of them.
Like most small American towns we have a town square. Our’s just happens to be where one of the famous historic Lincoln-Douglas debates were held.
Today, the park is a blend of old and new with a lovely old gazebo, but with a brand new restrooms and really nice new central fountain where little one’s can frolic in the dancing spray.
Every other Friday evening during the summer, you can enjoy free ‘Blues in the District’. They bring in some really good performers from around the US. Everyone brings their lawnchairs and coolers, some even set up some rather elaborate picnics. As you can see from the pictures, this brings out literally thousands of folks to make the most of their summer evening.
The most recent event we attended was in conjunction with the Mid-summer Arts Faire so besides the feast for the ears there was also the feast for the eyes with many artists tents around the perimeter selling their wares.
The taste buds also got there share as well! Downtown restaurants had tents where you could choose from American, Greek, Italian – but mostly offerings that can be carried and enjoyed from a lawnchair. I had a really great chicken/spinach/feta cheese burger for my evening meal that was offered by the downtown butcher shop. This was great for their future business as well since now we all plan to go by the shop to buy more of these burgers to do on our own grills.
Sometimes service organizations are the food vendors, with proceeds going to local schools or charities.
Usually one or more of our larger local businesses sponsor each particular event which is a big part of the reason the band, added security, cleanup, etc., can all be provided at no cost to the public.
While we tend to park our lawnchairs with my good friend, Cheryl, and her husband, Mike, its definitely a get-up-and-mingle kind of event. It’s a time when I get to see lots of old friends from work and often people I haven’t seen in years since folks coming back to Quincy for reunions or family visits seem to make an effort to schedule around these park events so they can see lots of hometown folk in one place. After a few hours with their favorite beverages most people are much more open about mingling and have a generally good time. It never gets rowdy though.
It’s a great free evening of entertainment for families as well, even including the family pets.
The entertainment ends at 9pm but the security contingent is very tolerant of folks staying around and enjoying themselves for a few hours more. In fact, this last evening we attended, a group of young drummers started up their own music down on the lawn after the official program ended.
With the ages and dress of that group, the girls doing hula-hoops, and the beat of the drums—it suddenly had the feel of a ‘70s hippie gathering!!
If you are planning a trip to Quincy, I encourage you to consider planning around a ‘Blues in the District’ evening. Here’s the 2010 schedule:
Corporate Sponsor: Mid Mississippi Muddy Waters Blues Society
Of course, if you are planning to attend, let us know so you can come join our circle and mingle with us!!
Does your hometown or favorite area host events that are worthy of timing our visits around them? We’d love to hear about them!