“There’s never anything to do around here.” It is a common phrase I’m sure everyone has heard a time or two in their lives. I’m certain you’ve heard in reference to any community, especially in rural areas.
I can say in this industry, I sometimes have a difficult time keeping up with everything that is going on, in my own community of Martin, and beyond. As I have two school-age children, it becomes quite easy to get overwhelmed throughout the school year with events.
Martin has something to do for people of all ages throughout the year. Sometimes you have to know where to look. Other times, it’s evident just by the masses of people gathered in the heart of the city – downtown – every Thursday night.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts by a group of people behind the scenes in leadership roles for the City of Martin, a tradition I’ve grown to love has taken off by leaps and bounds. Several years ago, it started out as Martin Family Fun Night, an event held during the week that offered movie nights in the park and activities for all ages. Theme nights varied each week and best of all, these events were free for all in attendance. Eventually, Family Fun Night turned into a Summer Concert Series.
Throughout June and July, downtown Martin is the site where community members of all ages can throw down a blanket or set up a camping chair on the lawn in front of the Martin Public Library and relax while local musicians offer their talents on the massive stage at no cost to concert-goers.
This event is near and dear to my heart as my daughter is a part of the Martin Community Band, under the direction of John Oelrich, who is also affectionately known as “Dr. O.” Thanks to the relationship between UT Martin and the Martin community, Dr. O volunteers his time prepping community band members each week on campus for a handful of free concerts during the Community Concert Series held on Thursday nights in downtown Martin. Band members are volunteers from across Northwest Tennessee, ranging in age from 12 years to 93 years young. With instruments in hand, they provide about 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of a collection of songs.
The Martin Community Band isn’t the only musical entertainment during the concert series. The City of Martin pulls in local cover bands as part of the weekly line-up. And you can be certain every week there will be a line of food trucks from across the region on hand – from local barbecue to sweet treats. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and get to meet local artisans who are also members of the Martin Farmers Market. The Market is another great aspect of the Martin community – held every Wednesday and Saturday downtown.
I invite all of you to meet me downtown on Thursday nights throughout the summer. Bring a chair and bring some friends for some lively, free entertainment. It is always family-friendly. Food trucks set up around 5 and concerts begin at 7 p.m.
Kudos to Brad Thompson, Camille Noe, the Martin Public Library staff and all of the people who have a hand in making the heart of downtown Martin a great place to be every week!