People turn out for first ‘Downtown Day’
SPRUCE PINE – Scattered showers and some dark clouds weren’t enough to stop the town of Spruce Pine’s Downtown Day this past Saturday, as hundreds walked the streets visiting local merchants and participating in activities.
Poppy’s Wildcraft on Upper Street hosted a craft market, which featured homemade canvas paintings, small trinkets and other various art pieces for sale under the covered area next to the store.
Volunteers prepared barbecue in a large smoker on Lower Street in front of Not Bob’s Antiques and sold it to raise money for Not Bob’s owner Herman Buchanan, who is hospitalized and recovering from a bout with pneumonia.
The barbecue sale raised more than $11,000.
Aaron Buchanan, Herman’s son and owner of Fox and the Fig in Spruce Pine, said the fundraiser means a lot to his family.
“It was a collaboration between friends of our family,” Aaron said. “They just wanted to help with some of the medical funds. It’s great. This community is supportive, and we appreciate it.”
Baby James, the renowned highland cow from Happy Hens and Highlands Farm in Burnsville, made an appearance in Central Park and the Toe River Drifters provided live bluegrass music from the park in the afternoon before being relieved by the Jerry, Mike and Bill Band later in the day.
The day of activity closed with the Classic Car “Cruisin’” car show. Classic car enthusiasts and collectors lined their cars on the side of the road in downtown and spectators roamed the streets taking photos and appreciating the cars while live southern rock music erupted from the covered stage area next to City Drive-In.
Many local businesses had extended hours, and some celebrated the day with special sales, drawings and raffles.
Fox and the Fig, which usually closes at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, stayed open until about 5 p.m.
Aaron Buchanan said business and the overall feeling in town were both very positive.
“It’s been steady,” Aaron said. “We’ve had a lot of business, and there’s just a good buzz in town. It’s nice to kick off the summer this way.”
Spruce Pine resident Candice Woody, who came to Downtown Day with her two children, said the day was a chance for Spruce Pine to show its resiliency.
“It’s great,” Woody said. “Even with all the backlash over things leaving the community, the community is coming together to have fun and for Herman with the fundraiser.”
Executive Director of Spruce Pine Main Street Libby Phillips said the event was a success and added she appreciated the help of everyone who was involved with the event, especially the volunteers, merchants and Police Chief Billy Summerlin for helping to organize the car show.
“Downtown Day was a complete success, and we are so pleased with the turnout,” Phillips said. “We scheduled activities, music and events that we thought would appeal to our community and I think we hit a home run.
“Despite a couple of showers during the day, we had a town full of people. It was a great day and shows what a wonderful community we have.”