In a society gradually graduating toward normalcy from the restrictive pandemic, a new, outdoor, downtown mini series begins Friday.
JCB Fridays On Fourth, on the closed-to-vehicle-traffic one block section of Fourth Street off Washington Street, will include extra space for outdoor restaurant dining, life-sized versions of tic tac toe, cornhole, and live music meant to add ambience.
The events, a team effort among JCB, Fun On Fourth, and the Columbus Area Visitors Center, will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays for the next six weeks. Live music will begin at 6 p.m. The Bartholomew County Health Department and the city of Columbus have approved the plan.
Ashley Abner, JCB’s coordinator for the get-togethers, emphasized that these happenings are not meant as a replacement for JCB Neighborfest street concerts that ended in the fall of 2019. The gatherings regularly attracted several hundred people to listen to and dance to mostly Columbus and Indianapolis area ensembles performing in the street.
"We would love at some point in the future to get back to a big concert series," Abner said. "But it just doesn’t make sense to do that currently because it’s just not safe from a health standpoint at the moment for the community. And we want to be cognizant that whatever we are doing is adding value and helping downtown while being as safe as possible."
Abner added that the new idea is meant to encourage people to come downtown to shop, eat and enjoy themselves.
Erin Hawkins, marketing director of the Columbus Area Visitors Center, said the gatherings provide a simple dinner and socializing time for people.
"We’re looking forward to seeing people spending more time downtown this summer, dining in our local restaurants and patronizing small businesses," Hawkins said. "I know people are eager to return to some sense of normalcy and it’s great that JCB has provided this opportunity for the community to gather safely and enjoy downtown."
Organizers mentioned that it’s tough to predict the attendance for the first-time concept.
"Once we get through this first one, we’ll have a better idea of things," Abner said.
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Musical lineup” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
- Friday: Lonesome Crow
- May 28: Three Beards Strummin’ (Scott Wilson)
- June 4: Hunter & Girton
- June 11: Scot Schrader
- June 18: Brad and Casey
- June 25: Jackson Way