On Friday from 6 to 9:30 p.m., downtown Auburn will host An Indian SummerNight Downtown Art Walk. The art walk will feature the works of local and regional artists, live music, street performances, children’s activities, a barbecue sauce and cornbread contest, and downtown merchants open late and offering specials to customers.
“An Indian SummerNight Downtown Art Walk strives to bring the community together and take advantage of the arts in a creative, downtown atmosphere,” said Sarah Custer, cultural arts director at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and co-coordinator of An Indian SummerNight Downtown Art Walk. “We create an environment where the arts are available to everyone! This also includes culinary arts. We hope everyone can attend this free event as it promotes everything we love about our art community!”
The event will also feature a culinary theme of barbecue, sponsored by Rusty Prewett Insurance, which will include both a barbecue sauce and cornbread competition. Each contestant may enter up to three sauces and/or two varieties of cornbread for an entry fee of $10 for each contest. Art vendors may submit sauce and cornbread entries for free. Sauces and cornbread will be available for public sampling and sale during An Indian SummerNight. Winners will be announced on the main stage at 7:15 p.m. All proceeds for the competitions will benefit the Auburn Arts Association and their educational programs.
This will be the ninth year of the SummerNight event, but it has historically taken place in the summer. Due to the construction at Toomer’s Corner over this past summer, the event was forced to take place later this year in October. Instead of the annual SummerNight Art Walk, the Auburn Arts Association held A Pop-Up SummerNight Art Walk to work around the construction downtown.
“There’s a lot of stuff for people to do, whether you’re more artsy or there for the music or the kids’ activities,” said Evelyn Walker, who is on the event’s committee. “It’s for everybody. There’s just something for anyone to do. It’s just a fun, open event that anyone can come to. There will be children’s activities, so if you’re looking for a family-oriented event its great but there’s also art and then a lot of the bars will do drink specials and they’ll be open.”
The event will showcase the works of over 30 local and regional artists to an expected crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 people. Patrons will be able to enjoy various forms of art, including watercolor paintings, handcrafted jewelry and sculptures. In addition, live music will be provided by southern-rock band the Bama Gamblers.
Community and business sponsors who are participating in the event include the following: Auburn Opelika Tourism Bureau, Cake-A-Potamus, Kate 99.9, Mountain High Outfitters, Opelika-Auburn News, STAMP, State Farm, Blue Turtle Creative, Chick-Fil-A, Little Italy and Verge Pipe Media.
“Our decision to support An Indian SummerNight art walk was easy,” said Don Crow, founder and managing partner of Verge Pipe Media. “We loved the event last year and got great response from the community for our involvement. This year, we’ll bring back our cookie decorating station for kids of all ages and look forward to seeing everyone’s creations before they eat them!”
The name of the event, an Indian SummerNight, stems from the National Weather Service’s definition of an Indian summer, “an unseasonably warm period near the middle of autumn.” Program organizers hope that conditions will hold true the night of the event. If postponed due to rain, the event will take place the following evening, Saturday, Oct. 10, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“I think it’s a great event for the community,” said Walker. “I like to do events where the city of Auburn is connected with the university. And it’s right around the downtown area so a lot of college students will be around but it’s also great for families. Also, you know, we like having the arts in the community here. You know, it’s football season, there’s a lot of sports stuff going on but this is just great for people who are interested in being creative and gives artists an opportunity to really showcase themselves.”
College Street, from Thach Avenue to Tichenor Avenue, and Magnolia Avenue, from Wright Street to Gay Street, will be closed to traffic from 5:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. for the event. Parking is available on the first floor of the Auburn Municipal Parking Deck, Regions Bank, BBVA Compass Bank, Auburn United Methodist Church, Four Seasons Cleaners, Auburn Wesley Foundation, and Tiger Rags. A map of available parking, as well as additional information about the event is available online at www.auburnalabama.org/parks.
For more information, contact Sarah Hand Custer, cultural arts director at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and co-coordinator of An Indian SummerNight Downtown Art Walk. Custer can be reached by phone at 334-501-2963, and by email firstname.lastname@example.org.