Music in the Park a success

Published 10:28 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If this past weekend’s Music in the Park was any indication, the community of Verbena’s participation in The Great Alabama Homecoming planned for Oct. 2 will be a shindig you won’t want to miss.

Saturday, local musicians converged at the gazebo in Verbena’s historic district for a concert of bluegrass, swing, gospel and soul, country western and contemporary tunes. It was the third Music in the Park, sponsored by the Verbena Historical Society and held twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.

“Living in Hoover, my kids don’t get to enjoy the music or the outdoors like I grew up with,” said Verbena native Allison Weir Hamilton, who was in attendance Saturday. “I love giving them the experience of a small town community, to meet the people, enjoy the kids and have more of a sense of freedom that kids get in a small town. I know it’s a huge difference when my kids come down, and they love it.”

A few hundred people brought lawn chairs, blankets, bicycles and even the family pet Saturday for a laid-back musical outing.

But there was more than just music.

You might have stopped by Lloyd Nutter’s booth of handmade crafts.

He has birdhouses, and then there are the corncob backscratchers that, according to event co-coordinator Mary Kate Weir, are “the bomb.”

Rebecca Montalbano had a booth of homemade lemon Verbena soaps, and she was kind enough to donate all her proceeds back to the historical society.

Jud and Tammy Messer cooked food, which included barbecue and corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter; and Wayne and Brenda Pike provided snacks.

Mary Kate Weir, along with her husband, Bob — vice president of the Verbena Historical Society — are planning a much bigger event for Oct. 2.

Verbena’s Reunion in the Park will be part of the statewide Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns, also known as The Great Alabama Homecoming.

Weir says this will be “the big one.” The whole idea is to encourage people to return to their hometown to relive their roots, if just for one day.

The community will receive a historic monument to be erected in downtown Verbena in conjunction with that special day. The monument is made possible by a grant from the Alabama Department of Tourism.

“We would like it if people who have left would treat it as a homecoming,” Weir said.

She suggested that people plan to bring old high school yearbooks, photographs and other memories to share.

Of course, there will be more music, booths of art and craft demonstrations, face painting and other activities for kids, and more.

Those interested in performing should contact Bob Weir at 755-9243. Those who want to set up a booth of arts and crafts should contact Mary Kate Weir at 755-9243 or 335-9731.