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Concert to ‘pump up’ downtown

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By Alice Du Pont

In an effort to pump some life into downtown, Quincy Main Street will host the first in a series of six concerts on the Courthouse Square Jan. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Fusion Band, a Jacksonville-based variety band that specializes in jazz, rhythm and blues and featuring Allana Southerland, is synonymous with saxophonists Kirk Walhun, Gerald Albright and Najee. While the band provides free entertainment, visitors will get the chance to buy award-winning chili, barbecue and other foods. Shops will have extended hours that evening.

"We're hoping this will get some activity downtown and create some traffic for our merchants. We want to showcase our downtown," said Charles Hayes, Quincy Main Street director.

All activities will be on the east side (North Madison Street) of the courthouse, facing the Gadsden Arts Center. That evening the art center is also opening several exhibits. Hayes said with Main Street and Gadsden Arts both hosting events downtown, the organizations can capitalize on the people that all of the events will bring to the downtown area.

Hayes said the concerts are also a response to the public's desire for events and programs downtown. He said he is often asked by citizens and merchants why there are no downtown evening activities as in other cities.

"It has taken us some time to line up bands, coordinate with the merchants and to make sure what we're doing is what people want. I have individually talked with all of the merchants around the square and they are behind us on this," he said.

Hayes has also visited several Main Street communities to look at how they plan and conduct downtown activities.

"We're comfortable now with what we planned for this year. I think once the public sees that we're trying to promote our downtown they'll support us," he said.

For more information on the events, call Hayes at 681-0002, ext. 6692, or 627-7681, ext. 206.