Live music, food trucks and local vendors drew a crowd to Veterans Park last Friday for opening night of Downtown Sounds.
Jimmy Tickey, one of the founders of Celebrate Shelton, was excited to see all of his preparations begin to pay off for the fourth-annual event.
“Celebrate Shelton is an organization myself, my sister Nicole Heriot-Mikula and Michael Skrtic created to have free events for families in downtown Shelton to come together with small business vendors,” Tickey said. “We wanted to create free concerts to enjoy a summer night by the river. Every year, Downtown Sounds grows and has so much to support to shine a light on downtown Shelton.”
The first night had Tom Weber, Cabin Fever and The Alpaca Gnomes as their three main acts. The cast of Center Stage Theater’s Annie performed “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” between the two musical acts.
Olivia Jansen, 11, and Avery Jansen, 7, are playing Annie and Molly, respectively, with opening night of Annie July 27.
“I’m very excited and a tad nervous [to play Annie],” Olivia Jansen said. “I got involved with Center Stage because I have always loved to sing, act and dance. One day, I heard how they were doing A Christmas Carol and I wanted to get involved.”
Food trucks, including Tipsy Cones, Mama Dee’s Italian Kitchen, Fryborgs and Dad’s Comfort Foods, came to sell their delicacies to attendees. The first 500 scoops from Tipsy Cones were free, thanks to the event co-sponsor, Liberty Bank.
Tom Korniluk from New Belgium Brewing Company said that their beer garden was doing really well with all the people coming.
“[I think the most popular beer tonight will be] the Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze, a New England style IPA, which is really delicious,” Korniluk said.
Mary Ann Voss of Bohemian Body Art LLC was starting her face painting, on kids and adults alike, at her first Downtown Sounds.
“[After I do my first face of the night] that becomes the face. It could a skull face that all the boys want. The girls prefer butterflies and crowns. I try to make the colors in the paint to their outfits,” Voss said. “You would be amazed at how many adults like the face painting.”
Juliana Romano of Mariposa Creations was eager to start selling her handmade jewelry.
“[All of my jewelry] has genuine stones, bright colors and a variety of gemstones,” Romano said. “I love New Mexico, so that is my inspiration for all of my work.”
Overall, Tickey said that he is proud of Downtown Sounds because it promotes local businesses and makes Shelton home of a unique event.
“This is so important because it gives families a place to go on a Friday summer night,” Tickey said. “They can come down to Veterans Memorial Park for free and see a more vibrant downtown. This will help families to be downtown and go to the restaurants and bars in the area.”
Downtown Sounds continues this Friday, July 27 and August 3. Wool Hats String Band and Hubinger Street will perform on July 27. Kazoo Crew Family Band and Sammy Rae & The Friends take the stage on Aug. 3.
For more information on all things Celebrate Shelton related, visit celebrateshelton.com.