Music and tasty food filled the air in Downtown Beloit

Music and tasty food filled the air in Downtown Beloit Main Photo

31 May 2022


BELOIT—Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra filled downtown Beloit with music on Friday afternoon as the first Fridays in the Park of the season kicked off at the First National Bank Plaza, at the corner of State Street and Grand Avenue.

Every Friday a different combination of musical artist and food vendor will be featured from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra played a variety music for the lunch-time crowd’s enjoyment.

They played selections from composers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charles Mingus, just to name a few.

“The Jazz Orchestra (performed) two of the pieces they recently performed in New York at the Essentially Ellington competition including ‘The Tattooed Bride’ by Duke Ellington and ‘Smada’ by Billy Strayhorn,” said Beloit Memorial High School Director of Bands Chris Behrens.

The Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Bands have performed for at least 15 years on Fridays at the Park, according to Behrens.

The vendor this past Friday was Velvet Buffalo. They offered Italian sub sandwiches along with a bag of chips and a choice of soft drink or water for $8.

“This was our third year in a row, with the exception of COVID-19 in 2020, that we have participated in the Fridays at the Park,” said Roland Stier, Velvet Buffalo General Manager.

Velvet Buffalo will return to Fridays in the Park to serve food on July 15.

“We are honored to be part of such an event that brings the community together,” Stier said. “The plaza is such a beautiful venue with a variety of hospitable local businesses surrounding it.”

“We had a few local businesses speak with us on Friday and connected with a lot of great folks,” Stier noted.

Another organization that had a presence was Nature at The Confluence. Julie Uram, Director of Nature at the Confluence, was handing out programs and event fliers.

A large crowd gathered with every seat taken at the plaza. One such audience member was Evan Langone, who graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 2019, and was part of the Jazz Band performance at Friday in the Park that same year.

“I started in the band my freshman year and worked my way up through senior year,” Langone noted.

Gary and Mary Shoemaker have been going to the event for as long as they can remember.

“We heard about the event from the Beloit Daily News a long time ago and have been going for as long as we can remember,” Mary Shoemaker said. “The only year we missed was when they had the (Fridays in the Park-ing Lot) during COVID.”

The next Friday in the Park will host Gary the Band and Geronimo Sports & Entertainment will be serving food.

This is Geronimo Sports & Entertainment’s first year at Fridays at the Park.

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