Lawrenceville Live! On the Square...First Friday’s
By Beth Volpert-Johansen
There is hardly a better place to spend a Friday Evening than to stroll the sidewalks of the Lawrenceville Square where you can follow in the footsteps of generations of Gwinnett County folks who enjoyed the vibrant entertainment, food, and shopping offered by the historic area surrounding the Old Courthouse.
Beginning in June and lasting through December, The Square will come alive with street performers and musicians to suit a variety of tastes.
Many folks take advantage of the delicious restaurants that surround the square each night and then stick around to wander the shops, arts, and unique treasures that are open past dark-thirty. “The Square” that surrounds the Old Courthouse is full of amazing shops that offer something for every age. “We expect a mixture of different groups that will include jazz, singer-songwriters, street performers and bands,” says Marci Gross of Lawenceville’s Marketing and Public Relations. “Having a dedicated day will allow stores to be open later with a variety of entertainment mixed in all along the downtown area and we are very excited about that.”
“Come in!” says Nancy Abuaisheh, owner of Nancy’s Candy and Spice. “You will love something in here, come in and have a sample, you won’t regret it!” It is a sure guarantee you won’t regret sampling anything from Nancy’s impeccably clean and truly fresh old-fashioned shop. It is as if she had looked into the past of the Lawrenceville Square, added a dash of modern spice and established the perfect place for parents and kids alike on any night of the week. “I cannot wait until we begin Lawrenceville Live!” says Nancy. “There will be street performers and lots of music to enjoy.”
Nancy’s enthusiasm is echoed by Carolyn Wright of LONA Gallery. “The Square is made to stroll along,” says Carolyn. “The entertainment planned for the first Friday of each month will be the perfect way for a family or couples to spend an evening.” The LONA Gallery is filled with works of all kinds by local artists. Carolyn Wright and her sister, Sylvia Culberson, host events that range from schools to baby showers and wedding receptions at the beautifully appointed 2,400 sq ft shop that shows the value of history while displaying beautiful works of art.
Down the street at Block 178, owner, Bob Johnson, spends his evenings hosting regulars and newcomers to his wine shop. Modern electronic wine dispensers operated by microchipped cards keep wine chilled to the perfect temperatures for tasting and drinking. In the corner of the store is a vintage 1970’s stereo surrounded by a collection of classic vinyl albums with genres that range from jazz to southern rock. “Customers can even bring their own albums to enjoy while relaxing with friends,” says Bob.
Just outside of Block 178 is a butterfly garden courtyard surrounded by more storefronts in the Honest Alley section of Downtown Lawrenceville. For more than a year, storekeepers in Honest Alley have hosted live music for customers to enjoy while sipping wine, shopping or as an after-dinner treat at one of the many sweets offerings available. The shops offer unique items in a variety of price ranges which satisfies all sorts of shoppers.
New to The Square is Galactic Quest. They bill themselves as the greatest comic book store on earth. That may very well be the Galactic Truth. On one particular Friday night, the store was filled with kids, adults, and quite possibly the prettiest comic book store patron since Penny of Big Bang Theory fame. Enticing cover art draws readers of all types to the store all situated in close proximity to several baked goods and ice cream treats that are within listening distance of all the Friday Night festivities.
Along with a variety of shops to stroll, the lawn surrounding The Historic Courthouse is a perfect place to sit and watch the kids run around catching fireflies with neighbors they have yet to meet. According to Marci Gross, there will be entertainment in the gazebo underneath the strong old trees shading the lawn that have seen several generations of children run beneath their canopy.
Make sure to put an entry for Lawrenceville Live! on each first Friday night in your calendar. Perfect for families, couples, or a night out with friends, Lawrenceville Live! will knock your socks off with unique street corner entertainment, live music in several places all around the historic downtown square, great food, excellent shops, and an evening reminiscent of the old-fashioned evenings enjoyed by generations of Gwinnettians flavored with just a twist of modern flair.