By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Another season of great musical entertainment is returning to downtown Bluefield next month.
Sponsored by the Daily Telegraph, the weekly Chicory Square Concert Series has been bringing a diverse array of musical entertainment to Chicory Square for almost a quarter of a century. The 25th season begins on Friday, May 24, at noon — but with one notable change — the opening act.
Historically, the Bluefield High School Marching Band has opened and closed the concert series. But after the band boosters concession stand at Mitchell Stadium was robbed last winter by an unknown bandit, the greater Bluefield community rallied behind the band students, helping them to recoup more than $1,000 in losses that were to be used to finance a trip to Disney World. Thanks to the outpouring of community support, the BHS band students will be in Disney World on May 24 when the concert series opens.
As a result, the sixth and seventh grade band kids at Bluefield Middle School agreed to step up, and will open the 25th season of the Chicory Square Concert Series under the direction of Dr. Mary Woodbury. The middle school band will have approximately 100 students performing on May 24 at Chicory Square. The Bluefield High School Beaver Band will then return on Friday, May 31, to help kick off the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival edition of the Chicory Square Concert in Bluefield.
Members of the Chicory Square Committee met Thursday at the Daily Telegraph to finalize this summer’s concert series. Those in attendance included Art Riley, head of the Downtown Merchants Association and concert coordinators Lynn and Carl Burnette, along with Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry and Senior Editor Bill Archer, who will once again be headlining an All-American Celebration on July 5 at Chicory Square along with his musical partner Karl Miller.
Because the Fourth of July hits on a Thursday this year, the patriotic celebration will be held on Friday, July 5, at Chicory Square. The event will once again feature free hot dogs provided by Cole Chevrolet and cooked up by the Internet Cafe, free apple pies provided by Hardee’s on Bluefield Avenue, free American flags, free popcorn and free face painting for children, among many other events. The Bluefield Blue Jays, and their mascot the Baby Jay, also are expected to be in attendance.
“Cole Chevrolet has graciously agreed to sponsor the concert that day allowing us to provide free hot dogs and free American flags and many other things,” Perry said. “A big thank you goes to Tom Cole because Cole Chevrolet has allowed us to make this possible. I also want to thank Hardee’s of Bluefield Avenue for once again agreeing to provide free apple pies for this year’s concert.”
Perry said organizers of the concert series are hoping for a big crowd each week, and particularly on July 5.
“Our hope is many people will have that weekend off,” Perry said. “We are hoping to see not just current residents, but those who formerly lived in the area who are back in town for the weekend. We hope they, too, will come down to the square and enjoy some great music by Bill and Karl, free food and great friendship.”
Riley said the Aug. 2 concert at Chicory Square also will be big this year as it will coincide with the popular Downtown Street Fair.
The weekly concerts are held at noon each Friday throughout the summer. Burnette said the concert lineup is currently being finalized. Any local performer who is interested in being added to the back-up list is urged to contact Burnette at 276-326-1786.
As in past years, the weekly concerts also will be filmed and placed on the Daily Telegraph’s video website www.bdtvideo.com.
— Contact Charles Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org