Saturday Night-- Out on the Town!!
The North Carolina Music Factory is a former factory complex close to downtown Charlotte. In changing the area into a music venue, several separate areas for different size audiences were created, including one very large outdoor stage seating several hundred people. Restaurants and pubs with varied menus are scattered around the area and, for tonight, there are stalls with fresh vegetables and other locally grown and prepared food. Unfortunately, for tonight there is also rain, a steady downpour during the first part of the night.
Tonight's party was planned to welcome the 15,000 media people from all over the world expected to attend the convention. All the music areas have bands, the restaurants are open and the open-air stalls have lines of folks enjoying pulled-pork burritos, among other fare. One stand featured Southern heirloom tomatoes with all sorts of salt from different parts of the world. The tomatoes were quartered and speared with a toothpick; then you get to choose which salt to sprinkle on the tomato. We were so busy and enchanted with this process and the delicious tomatoes that we didn't get any pictures -- really a sad omission because the tomatoes were very beautiful in their variety of colors and shapes, nicely displayed in an old style gathering basket.
"We Make It Possible" was Charlotte's theme for the convention. Here it is a banner, but it was also displayed on t-shirts, campaign pins and other paraphernalia.
One of the bands is setting up on this stage and sound checking their microphones.
Katie and Dan greeting friends....
Dan's shoes are particularly snazzy, or, as a friend said, "too cool for school." yeah...
This band played in an old warehouse with pipes and wires criss-crossing the painted black ceiling. These beautiful crystal chandeliers hung from that black ceiling providing what lighting there was for the area.
More Southern food featured here.... We particularly enjoyed the collard greens and quail breasts and the crab cakes and creamed corn... yummy, for sure! Alas, no pictures of this food either. We were busy......
We "hung" with Russ and Amy Dean for a good part of the evening, enjoying both of them immensely. Russ and Katie were in the same class at Clinton Elementary and Bell Street schools in Clinton, SC. Russ is the son of our good friends Russell and Helen Dean who served at the First Baptist Church while we were at First Presbyterian. Russ and Amy are now co-pastors of Park Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, an ABC church which allows women's ordination. Jack really treasured the time with Russ, hearing the thoughts and concerns of a second generation of Dean friendships.
Meanwhile, on the main stage Kathy Mattea had a delayed start because of the rain. Katie enjoys this singer and her skill with the guitar. At the Swannonoa Gathering in North Carolina Katie studied in seminars with Kathy Mattea's husband John Vessner, a song-writer and also a performer.
It was a great evening, despite the rain. We didn't see any of the "big-name" media personalities. Maybe the rain kept them away, or they were lost in the huge crowd of guests who did come. Those guys and gals just don't know what they missed. They'll have a hard time gettin' collards and quail breasts when they get back to New York City. You bet!