Summer doesn't officially arrive until June 21. Unofficially, however, it begins on opening night of the downtown concert series on the lawn of the Old Capitol.
The start of the outdoor concerts on Broadway "is when Frankfort really becomes a community," said Kentucky State University professor and former Kentucky poet laureate Richard Taylor, sitting on the stone wall Friday evening, listening to Sound City Music Co. perform on stage at the front steps of the Old Capitol.
On the Old Capitol grounds, some people bring their lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, chips and dips, portable grills and hot dogs, boxes of fried chicken and various salads, and kids and grandchildren and dogs and soccer balls and footballs. Some bring folding tables and white table cloths. Others just bring themselves and gather in the St. Clair pedestrian block, or on Broadway, to eat at the downtown restaurants, inside or out.
Some folks, who try not to miss a summer concert, remember life before big-screen TVs, VCRs, DVDs and video games - when they used to get out the lawn chairs and talk to their neighbors and watch lightning bugs on warm summer evenings.
About twice a month, more and more Franklin Countians - from senior citizens to children - are making a warm-weather tradition of gathering downtown to enjoy good music, good friends, good food and good conversation to start the weekend. And admission is free.
Friday was 2-month-old Leah Rome's first concert. She was with her 2-year-old brother, Benjamin, and their parents, Nathan and Shannan Rome.
"I like the social aspect as much as the music," said Shannan. "There's been some really good entertainment, but to me it doesn't matter what band is playing. Getting together with friends and enjoying a relaxed meal is what makes it fun. It's a nice, relaxed environment, and kids can run and play. I really enjoy it."
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