LAURINBURG — Music bounced off the buildings of downtown Laurinburg on Friday afternoon as bands plugged in their microphones, set up their cymbals and tuned up their guitars or banjos for the fourth installment of the city’s Art Crawl.
The performers who drew the biggest crowd at the event, sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, were also some of the youngest. Subzero, a band based in Bennettsville, S.C., made up largely of high-schoolers, filled seats outside of the Storytelling and Arts Center, allowing listeners to their renditions of top 40 hits to also catch a glimpse of the student artwork on display on the center’s glass surround.
“The band sounds really good, and they’re young guys playing, so that’s awesome,” said Katie Prater, 16, who made the trip from Aberdeen with a group of friends.
Local teenage musician Eli Raybon could be found with his dad and local oncologist Kelvin, stationed near Karen Gibson’s studio. Dancers moved in and out of the building as the duo broke into “Freebird” and then “Labamba,” the latter of which inspired 6-year-old dancer Ally to grab her 8-month-old cousin’s hands from his stoller’s confines and playfully wave them in the air.
“I think it’s neat,” said Jean Barbour, who had watched Ally, her granddaughter, perform. “I’m all for it. I’m from Laurinburg and I want to see the downtown revitalized.”
At the opposite end of the artistic stretch, “Andy Kurtzman and Friends,” those friends being a duo named “Just Us,” who got that name when they showed up to play an event without their third member, also by the name of Andy, played a few folksy love songs as well as little-known classics such as “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.”
The newly formed trio of Kurtzman and brothers Charles Sheppard and Richard Sheppard had only performed once before Friday’s event. The Sheppards “play everything” from the 1950s to the 1970s, but the addition of Kurtzman’s banjo forced them into newer territory.
In listening distance were Michelle and Chelsea Poole, who at a small table were selling T-shirts Chelsea had designed by spraying bleach over a stencil. The process seems simple enough, but according to Michelle, it’s all in the technique.
“She’s had people try to do it but it just doesn’t come out right,” she said.
Chelsea got started with her art while trying to help raise money for her sister’s two-month mission trip through Northview Harvest Ministries in Laurinburg.
On Friday, the two didn’t see much business, but were thankful for the weather that had appeared ominous just a few minutes prior.
Down the street, Bethany Locklear added to a table already laden with crochet as she started a new piece. Though the Gibson resident said the turnout was disappointing, she said crochet is something she always enjoys “for the fun of it.”
“It’s a stress reliever,” she said.
Lily Pittman, a crafter who once owned a shop on Main Street but has since moved her crafts to her East Laurinburg stuido, said at about 6:30 p.m. that she had sold a few coozies, made out of quilt material, and sized to hold a bowl.
“It keeps your hands cozy and comfortable, and helps your ice cream last longer, too,” she said.
The event also helped Pittman reconnect with old customers who have had trouble locating her current location. Saquoyah Locklear and Elizabeth Citchner, of Scissors Palace, had also sold a few items as the sun started to dip below the tops of downtown buildings.
Participating business also included Hi-Lites, Bella Aqua, Dazzling Diva, Art by Design, The Tinker Shoppe and Sonya’s Florist.
Local couple Sue and Gene Ivey had brought their tractor — painted what Gene called a “sissy” pink — to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Sue bought the tractor at a show about four years ago, and the idea for the restoration and paint job including a pink ribbon with angel wings in memory of their respective mothers, came together over time.
“We’re in a tractor club and the guys all make fun of him,” she said. “But the wives love it.”
Deb Guess, a local artist who helped to organize the event, said it drew a much larger crowd than in October, the month of the previous art crawl.
“There’s a lot more people in the streets,” she said. “I think we did a better job of getting business on board.”
Guess was also glad the clouds, expected to drop rain by early evening, had cooperated.
Abbi Overfelt can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 12. Follow her on Twitter @aoinscotco.