LUMBERTON — The sun set Thursday on a Lumberton tradition — at least for this year.
Dozens of people packed the parking lot on West Third Street for the final installment of the Alive After Five summer concert series. This year marked the event’s 10th year.
“We really had nothing going on in downtown. The whole purpose of Alive After Five is to bring people back downtown and to let them know there is a night life after five o’ clock,” said Connie Russ, the city’s downtown development coordinator and organizer for the event.
According to Mickey Gregory, executive director of the Lumberton Visitor’s Bureau, the series must have been a hit, because people just keep coming back.
“The word gets out and now the neat thing about it is that people know it’s coming,” Gregory said. “… A lot of others places actually call Connie wanting to know what she does to get so many people at the event.”
Since it began, the event has grown from three concerts to this year’s six. In 2011, the Alive After Five was nominated for the Carolina Beach Music Award’s Concert Series of the Year.
Despite seemingly endless rainy Thursdays, Russ said the series weathered the storm.
“We have had some real weather complications, but believe it or not we did not lose one concert,” Russ said, noting a couple shows were ended early and one was rescheduled.
Over the years, Gregory said, the crowd has changed as well.
“The crowds seem to get bigger and the crowds seem to change. I notice a lot more young people coming. They tend to come in a little bit later in the evening instead of right at 7,” she said.
According to Grant Lewis, who attended all of the shows this year, the free event is a good way to let loose.
“It’s a whole lot of good,” he said. “For one thing, it lets people get an outlet, let steam off.”
“It’s a two- and-a-half our social hour. It’s a great place to meet friends, have a good time, see old friends. It’s very structured, very well-controlled, it’s just a good time,” she said.
Jason Justice, who attended three concerts this year and all of last year’s shows, would like to see the event continued throughout the year.
“It’s a social event. There’s not much going on in Lumberton. You can come out here with your friends, have a drink,” he said.
The Castaways, a beach music band based in Durham, entertained the crowd on Thursday, playing originals as well as covers. While the crowd enjoyed the music, lead singer Karen Clayton was impressed by Robesonians moves, particularly the regular crowd of line-dancers that hit the floor at every event.
“It tickles me because it’s the same group of ladies so you know that kind of they get together and do this on a regular basis. I love it,” she said.
Clayton said the band is eager to return for future Alive After Five concerts.
“It’s wonderful, it’s great. Especially for it being such a hot and humid day, and for them to still come out, I think it’s amazing. It goes to show that they really do enjoy it.”