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DWAC will hold downtown Waynesville events – except for one

DWAC will hold downtown Waynesville events – except for one

A subcommittee of the new Downtown Waynesville Advisory Committee (DWAC) met last week to kick-start a full slate of summer, fall and winter events for the rest of 2022. However the vaunted Church Street Art & Craft show isn’t one of them. 

“We’ll leave that one to them, for now,” DWAC Executive Director Beth Gilmore said of the old Downtown Waynesville Association’s plan to run the event. 

Alex McKay, chair of the DWAC events committee, led members through a March 3 meeting during which the traditional downtown events hosted by the old DWA were discussed. 

The DWA’s contract to manage the town’s municipal service district wasn’t renewed last fall after mismanagement finally caught up with the 35-year-old institution, so if the events are to continue, the DWAC will have to execute them. 

Waynesville’s popular downtown block parties, usually held before Memorial Day and in early September, will continue. 

So will the street dances, which haven’t taken place since the Coronavirus Pandemic put an end to large gatherings throughout 2020 and 2021. Tentative dates for these dances, called by Appalachian legend Joe Sam Queen, are June 24, July 8, July 22 and Aug. 7. 

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“Everyone loves the street dances,” Gilmore said, adding that she took a number of phone calls last year asking about the event. 

The July 4 festivities will also return, including a kids parade during the day, and a concert during the afternoon. 

Treats on the Street will take place on Halloween, which is on a Monday this year. The Christmas parade is scheduled for Dec. 5. Members of the events committee indicated a desire to hold a tree lighting ceremony, but were struggling with a location. 

The committee was also considering taking on the Art After Dark series, because Gilmore said the Haywood County Arts Council, traditional organizers of the event, couldn’t pull it off this year. 

Despite a late start in planning and a change in management, the events scheduled for 2022 could serve as a springboard for expanded programming in 2023; Gilmore expressed concern that there may not be enough time to execute new events, but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking ahead. 

Mentioned were a monthly live music series or summer concert series, a St. Patrick’s Day event and a previously considered Black Bear festival. At least some of the new events would benefit greatly from the “social district” concept currently being explored by the Waynesville Board of Aldermen. If enacted, the district  would allow on-street alcohol consumption under tightly controlled parameters. 

The DWAC events committee also established a permanent meeting schedule, in town hall on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 8:30 a.m. 

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