Friday, 06 October 2017 14:20

City of Rockingham's Final "Plaza Jam" Event Closes Summer on a Good Note

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Dozens of people gather for the final "Plaza Jam" event in downtown Rockingham Thursday. Dozens of people gather for the final "Plaza Jam" event in downtown Rockingham Thursday. Photo courtesy of C.K. Craven.

ROCKINGHAM – Thursday evening’s weather conditions offered the perfect scenario for October’s edition of the City of Rockingham’s Plaza Jam.

Not only did the soothing temperate climate make for a pleasurable evening, but Thursday’s event was the last for the 2017 season, which ended on a fantastic note.

The finale to the Plaza Jam’s fourteenth season could not have been more exciting, yet relaxing. Rockingham’s premiere event has come to be one of the most popular events throughout the summer, as it’s helped the first Thursday of each month from May through October.

Held in the “commons area” adjacent to the Rockingham City Hall and Leith Memorial Library on Rockingham Road, “the Jam” offered a wonderful opportunity for individuals to reunite and families to enjoy wholesome musical entertainment, community camaraderie and tasty foods, all in one place at one time.

The local chapter of the American Veterans provided the opportunity to purchase burgers, hot dogs, and other culinary delights.  President Sam Standridge, assisted by Tony Curlee, Pete Harrell, Tim Kendig, Ed O’Neal, Patti Davis, Wanda Kendig, and others, noted that all of the proceeds from the AmVets catering activities go back into the community. 

“We are active in about 25 area events each year and use the money to help Veterans Affairs hospitals and nursing homes,” Standridge said. “We also buy backpacks and supplies for school kids in need, install handicap ramps at homes, and just whatever else is needed in the community.”

But the AmVets food is only one of the many attractions associated with the Plaza Jam festivities and the resulting ambiance generated by such.  It has come to be a welcomed celebratory event for not only the local population, but “out-of-towners” as well.

“We’ve been coming to just about all of them for years now,” said Connie Curlee of Anson County.  Her mom, Lib Liles, reiterated her daughter’s enthusiastic quip, noting that, “It’s just such a great way to spend an evening, and it’s all free, so it is well worth the drive across the river.”

The reason that the Plaza Jam is “all free” is thanks to the direct efforts of the City of Rockingham and the corporate sponsors who make it possible to fund the events (which, according to City Manager Monty Crump, costs $30,000 to $36,000 annually).

“The sponsors are the ones who pay for it all,” says Crump. “And Kim Williams, our events director, puts it all together.”

Williams was still working the event even as she was out-of-town, fielding a call from Crump to answer questions about the “behind-the-scenes” necessities that are required to ensure that all goes well at each and every Plaza Jam rendition.

The Charlotte-area band “Too Much Sylvia” provided entertainment to keep the ever-burgeoning crowd happy and excited as attendees were consistently dancing around the stage and continually popping up from their lawn chairs whenever “their song” was played.

A particularly touching moment was provided by the band as they played Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” in tribute to all, both military and civilian, who have served our country in various capacities.

As the 2017 season draws to a close, the City of Rockingham reminds locals that the next Rockingham Plaza Jam extravaganza will be Thursday, May 3, 2018.