Breaking in Bridge Street Entertainment District
Word of the day: Wingding
1. A wild, lively or lavish party.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Wingding. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved June 25, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wingding
A successful four weeks of the first events held in the Bridge Street Entertainment District concluded Thursday, but don't worry, while Hot Springians spend the next two months beating the heat, the district's outdoor concerts will be back come September.
Bill Solleder, coordinator* for the Bridge Street Live concert series held in the district every Thursday in June, said the most important thing that they have learned with the events is that people are certainly happy to have something to do outdoors that revolves around music and socializing.
"There's no doubt that it has become a magnet for people to reunite and be together again," Solleder said, reflecting on the last year spent mostly in isolation.
The free concerts included Memphis Soul Revue on June 3, Arkansauce on June 1o, The Irie Lions on June 17 and Funkytown on June 24.
Each event brought out about 1,500 people per night. With the district allowing open-carry alcohol in designated Bridge Street Live cups within its borders**, Solleder and the Hot Springs Police Department were happy to report there were no issues of disorderly conduct.
"We've learned that the people that are coming are behaving and being responsible, and exercising the idea of being in the district with open alcohol is working, and people are minding the borders, and keeping within the borders, so that's gone really well," Solleder said.
With everything running smoothly in the first month of the district's use, the city is excited about continuing events held in the Bridge Street Entertainment District. The next events are planned for September.
The first weekend in September will have The Big Pickle utilizing the district, which is a pickleball festival that will include live blues and jazz music. The second weekend will have Bike Fest utilizing the district, which is a motorcycle rally. In the last two Friday's of the month, Visit Hot Springs will once again host Bridge Street Live events in the district.
Sept. 17 will mark the halfway point to the next World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which also takes place in the district, so that will be a BSL event to celebrate what actually will be in 2022***. Sept. 24 will coincide with the weekend of Spa-Con, so there will be a BSL event tied-in with that.
"I'm so thankful that ... me and my team get to actually produce a successful event, and we're just thrilled that the feedback has been so positive," Solleder said. "I'm looking forward to what we can do in the future."
* Solleder is also the Director of Marketing for Visit Hot Springs.
** To hold an event in the Bridge Street Entertainment District that allows open-carry alcohol, you must have an approved Special Event Permit from the city.
*** The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade has been cancelled the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to begin again in March 2022.