With pandemic limits on public gatherings being curtailed, local activities and gatherings are getting back to normal.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Pilot Mountain, where a full slate of spring, summer, and autumn activities has been unveiled, with the first such event starting this week with Thursday’s St. Patrick’s Day Downtown celebration getting underway.
That begins a string of more than 20 festivals, cruise-ins, specialty markets, family events and concerts slated over the rest of the year.
Christy Craig, Pilot Mountain’s downtown event coordinator, said the town’s first-ever St. Patrick’s Day event is a little more low-key than some of the other planned activities.
“It features a scavenger hunt,” she said.
The hunt begins at Town Hall, where visitors can stop in and pick up a complimentary green tote bag, along with a list of town stores participating in the event.
“Each store has a shamrock in there with a number,” she said. Shoppers write down the number on the shamrock, on the list of participating stores, then once they’ve found all the shamrock numbers, shoppers turn the card back in at town hall to be entered into a drawing for prizes.
She said the organizers might even help pay for a bit of the shopping — when visitors start their day at town hall, they can get a scratch-off ticket, with cash prizes to help lighten the cost of the downtown shopping.
“It’s just a small event to get people downtown, give the business owners a little bit of boost during a slow time,” she said, while offering visitors some fun activities.
“We were just looking to expand to do some events earlier in the season,” Mayor Evan Cockerham added. “Our summer schedule, and even our fall schedule, has gotten pretty tight. St. Patrick’s Day seemed like a logical choice.” He said some of the businesses and restaurants are even taking on a St. Patrick’s Day theme that day.
While it might be a smaller event, the scavenger hunt kicks off a wide variety of celebrations set for Pilot Mountain. Among those is the town’s well-known Hot Nights and Hot Cars cruise-in series set for a monthly get-together May through October; the return of the popular Mayfest after a three-year pandemic-forced absence; vintage marts; and a new activity — Fun Fridays.
“We’re going to try something out a little different this year to try to get people to come downtown after hours to stay,” Craig said of the Fun Fridays, which will take place on July 15, Aug. 19, and Sept. 16. “We want to give people something to do that no one else is doing.”
The event will include live music and a DJ, dancing, concessions, and other activities, with each one patterned after a different theme — the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
“We’ll encourage people to dress up for the theme and visit the stores before they stay for the party,” she said.
“We’re always looking to add on, to do more events,” said Mayor Cockerham. “Pilot Mountain has always done events really well, we just wanted to do something that brings more music, arts and entertainment.”
He said when he was first elected to office several years ago, one of his priorities was to work with businesses and other organizations to put on events that would bring more people to the town.
“We want downtown Pilot Mountain to become a destination choice, a place where families would visit.”
At the time, he said the town hosted seven or eight annual events. Now, that figure is nearly at two dozen.
“I give a lot of credit to Jenny Kindy and Cristy Craig,” he said. Kindy serves as the town’s Main Street coordinator. “We are excited to welcome people back to Pilot Mountain now that a lot of the COVID restrictions are over. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The full slate of Pilot Mountain events are:
March 17 — St Patrick’s Day Downtown
April 9 — Pilot View Vintage Market
May 6 – May 8 — Mayfest
May 28 — Community for a Cause 5k
June 4 — Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise In
June 25 — PMPO Food Trucks
July 2 — Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise In
July 15 — Fun Friday 70s
July 23 — Dinosaurs on Main
Aug. 2 — National Night Out
Aug. 6 — Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise In
Aug. 19 — Fun Friday 80s
Sept. 3 — Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise In
Sept. 16 — Fun Friday 90s
Sept. 24 — Foothills Dinner on Main
Oct. 1 — Hot Nights Hot Cars Cruise In
Oct. 22 — Glow Party
Oct. 29 — Monsters on Main & Trunk or Treat
Nov. 5 — Pilot View Vintage Market
Nov. 26 — Deck the Halls/Mistletoe Market
Dec. 3 — Parade and Tree Lighting