Alive After Five’s first band of the year, Right On, led by vocalist Arline Burton, performs Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with the help of Henderson children and one man from the audience Thursday night.
After all of the debate about beer sales, after an overcast sky threatened but never delivered a downpour, and after the band arrived 20 minutes late, Alive After Five came off without a problem Thursday at the Henderson Operations & Service Center.
Bill Edwards, the president of the event’s host, the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce, estimated that 1,500 to 1,800 people went to the Operations Center to enjoy the music, children’s games, food and cold beverages.
Edwards said it looked as if attendance at the free event was down a bit from last year’s crowds, which topped 2,000, but he didn’t attribute that decline to any qualms about beer being served on city property. The April evening was just a bit chilly.
Another problem was competition between activities. The Henderson-Vance Human Relations Commission held its annual awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church, whose pastor, the Rev. Frank Sossamon, has led the protest of beer being served at any event on city property.
Figures on beer sales were not available Thursday evening, but the area around the beer stand was packed with people socializing in the final 15 minutes of sales at Alive After Five.
There were no fights or any other problems during the three-hour event, Edwards said, thanking law enforcement for a strong, visible presence.
The only known incident involving law enforcement actually occurred far from Beckford Drive. Right On, the night’s band, arrived about 20 minutes after the scheduled 5:30 start of the show; the crowd was told that the Virginia State Police caused the delay by pulling the band’s bus over for a traffic violation.
Right On! extended its show to 9 p.m., 30 minutes later than scheduled, because of the late start.
Two more Alive After Five concerts are scheduled this year. Liquid Pleasure is due to play Thursday, June 23, at a location yet to be determined (the preferred but still unapproved site is on the renovated piece of Breckenridge Street at Embassy Square). The Breakfast Club will close the series will Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Operations Center.
To carry you through until the start of summer and the next free concert, below are a few more images from Thursday’s Alive After Five.
Right On keeps the crowd dancing. Chamber President Bill Edwards said Right On! might have been the best band yet among the 10 Alive shows Henderson has held since 2000.
For this crowd at least, the availability of beer at Alive After Five was a good thing.
The children’s activities, in an alcohol-free area, included a moonwalk and other inflatable adventures.
A day after local law enforcement officers learned about gang graffiti at a training session on Latino gangs, children armed with chalk made their marks in a more positive way on the Operations Center’s pavement.