I know I posted about taking some time away from the blog but I haven’t left Raleigh just yet and I had some time to put some thoughts together on something that I’ve been thinking about.
I went to lunch with a friend this week and we got to talking about the many events that come to downtown Raleigh. Now is a great time to talk about events because if you aren’t aware, downtown Raleigh ROCKS in September. We are at the start of the weekend after weekend after weekend event marathon and for residents like me, you notice all that activity taking place.
From my point of view, talking to other downtown residents, the vibe is a “hesitant welcome” to these events. On one side, all that activity leads to a better downtown with more restaurants, more retail, and more entertainment. On the other, it can bring fatigue when streets are closed every weekend, droves of people buzz around the streets, and noise vibrates the buildings all around us.
Here’s a schedule of some of the larger events, ones that shut down streets and such, that took place already or are coming up.
- 8/24 – CaribMask Caribbean Festival
- 8/31-9/1 – The African American Cultural Festival
- 9/5-9/7 – Hopscotch Music Festival
- 9/12-9/15 – SparkCon
- 9/20-9/22 – Capital City BikeFest
- 9/27-9/28 – Wide Open Bluegrass
Quite a bit of activity going on in and around September. That’s six weeks of Fayetteville Street closures. I didn’t even mention other events taking place like La Fiesta del Pueblo (9/8) in Moore Square, The Raleigh International Festival (10/4-10/6) at the convention center, and numerous Innovate Raleigh related event like Triangle Entrepreneurship Week, CED Tech Venture Conference, and DataPalooza. These events take place indoors but still bring activity to downtown.
There’s also a similar event string in the Spring with lots of others sprinkled throughout the year. Road races, corn hole tournaments, food truck rodeos, parades, the list goes on and on.
However, the diversity of these events must be appreciated greatly by residents, and all Raleighites really. It keeps downtown interesting and inclusive to everyone. There are hundreds of other events throughout the year and we’re getting close to having at least one of them touch anyone’s interest no matter how niche it may be.
I remember talking to an area music club owner years ago. He told me once, “If you run a club like it’s your own personal jukebox you’re going to fail.” That sentence has stuck with me for awhile and I think it applies here.
In my opinion, our success in downtown is in part due to the diversity of events taking place. I hope for a long time that downtown continues to be a jukebox with a variety of tunes. If our jukebox starts to sound the same, we know we’re in trouble. If a tune is playing that you don’t like, then sit that one out because one you will like is bound to play soon.
Raleigh, the jukebox of the south!