Sunday, October 16, 2005

After 5 Urbanity

The scene was pretty lively - a couple hundred people enjoying music under the city lights.

It was Friday night at the Lemon Street plaza. The biggest crowd was clustered by the beer trailer, it was warm you know - the evening, that is, not the beer. And the weekend had finally started!

Mattison's was full. In between the chattering you could hear the ice rattling in the martini shaker, and the clinking of wine glasses. And of course the sweet odors from the food being crafted by the kitchen wizards permeated the air.

Across the street at the Gator Club, things were pretty subdued. Too early for the crowd that patronizes this great establishment. I'm sure when the After 5 Party wound down, many of the revelers would drift over to the Gator Club.

Meanwhile the band at the main event was cranking up and the gals were grooving to the beat.

Moving their feet, hips, shoulders and heads in sync with the tunes. Some of the guys were caught up in the music also, though most were happy just watching the gals.

All in all, it was an urban scene. A mostly younger, 30-ish or so -crowd, but with some middle aged and up hipsters sprinkled in, many watchers and talkers. A scene Sarasota has been promoting and we are seeing some success.

Of course when you meander up and down Main Street, it is still pretty quiet after 5. All the restaurants seemed to be doing a good business as the sidewalk tables all had customers and there were no empty parking spots to be found anywhere on Main. (I drove directly to the City Hall parking lot which was less than half full). But there are still very few stores open, not enough to sustain a lively crowd without a significant attraction like this event.

The phrase "in the hunt" usually conjures up images of the younger set looking for that someone special (unless you live in Wisconsin where the image might include blaze orange). Along Main Street the predominant image is circling cars waiting to pounce on an unexpected open parking space.

So the next time the City sponsors an After 5 event downtown, why not join the scene? Urban living, even on a small scale, can have some delightful moments.

One thing though, please forget about my secret parking spot.

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