With rain starting to fall from darkening skies at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, conditions didn’t seem promising for Mint Hill’s second Family Fun Night of the summer.
But what looked threatening only half an hour earlier turned out to be a blessing in disguise as crowds started to gather on the fields at Veterans Park around 6:30. “I think the weather has passed through,” said Sheryl Smith, Assistant to the Town Manager and the event’s organizer. “Temperatures have dropped 20 degrees since I first came out here!”
Traditionally, Family Fun Nights sponsored by the Town of Mint Hill have taken place in front of Town Hall. This is the second Family Fun Night this summer to be relocated to Veteran’s Park. “The fountain wasn’t ready,” said Smith regarding the location change. “Until it’s complete, I don’t want to do anything there,” she continued, citing fears of patrons getting injured or damaging the in-progress fountain.
But the location change, like the weather, turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. “I think we should continue having it here!” said Corey Cannon from Pelican’s SnoBalls. “Having it here at the park, it’s way more space. Families can come out and put their blankets down, enjoy the music, and enjoy the vendors and festivities for the kids.”
“I think the facilities at the park are going to draw people that normally wouldn’t know about us,” added Debbie Carver from Mama K’s Kettle Corn. Indeed, after the music started, park patrons in athletic gear could be seen wandering over from the trails and tennis courts. The soccer fields offered energetic children plenty of space to run around safely, and some guests even brought dogs.
The main event of the evening was the Steven Metz Band, a Nashville-based country music act originally from Concord, NC. Metz and his band entertained the crowd with their characteristic high-energy music mixing original compositions with familiar country and rock covers like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
The music was the main draw for a large crowd that had assembled close to the stage an hour before the performance started. When asked what brought them out to the park on Saturday, their response was unanimous: “That kid right there!” they said, gesturing to Metz, who they’ve known since he was eight years old. “He grew up in our church. He was our organist.” The group of friends from St. James the Greater Catholic Church traveled from Concord to see Metz and his band play in Mint Hill.
Many Mint Hill residents who attended hadn’t heard of Metz before, but they were excited nonetheless. “We’re looking forward to it,” said Cannon and Carver while the band was warming up. “They had amazing music last year!”
In addition to live music, the event featured several local food vendors including I Scream 4 Ice Cream, Mama K’s Kettle Korn, Pelican’s SnoBalls and Yummy O’s Mini Donuts. Although the change of location meant the event took place farther from local restaurants, several park patrons brought dinner from local food vendors like Ev’s Fruit Infusions.
Despite the ominous-looking weather conditions, Mint Hill’s second Family Fun Night of the summer was a huge success. “It was just a lot of fun,” says Smith. “Everybody had a great time dancing to the music and enjoying great food and good company.”
The next town-sponsored Family Fun Night will be the annual Back-to-School Pep Rally on August 17. The evening will celebrate Independence High School and will feature food vendors and kid-friendly entertainment like bounce houses, face painting, cornhole and giant Jenga. The Back-to-School Pep Rally will begin at 6:30 in front of Town Hall.