They're wise to throw the Block Party Kickoff on a weekend night, even though the regular weekly edition runs Thursdays, starting this week with Off the Reservation and Virgil Cain.
It was warm. The sun was still in the sky.
And as my dear wife Karen people-watched as more and more folks arrived to hear the classic rock music of The Mere Mortals for free, we realized once again that we're pretty lucky to have these sort of events so readily available in our part of the world.
The music is great, sure.
But in a couple of hours on Saturday night, Karen and I were also able to spot:
•The white-haired denizen of the premises, Peter Coleman himself, work the crowd like a happy politician who knows he's a shoo-in come next Election Day. People were tripping over themselves, waving Peter Coleman over to get their picture taken with him. He was most obliging.
•A younger guy dressed as a green draft beer with the Coleman's name printed on the front of the costume work the crowd, too, very separately from Peter. I thought out loud to Karen that maybe that's what happens when one of the younger Coleman offspring acts up in some way at family gatherings: "You get five weeks in the green draft beer costume!" People jostled to get their picture taken with him, too.
•A father danced with his daughter in front of the stage, and the older people who were dancing there first stopped to watch. At one point, the dad tossed his lithe little one high in the air. And caught her. Whew! People smiled and clapped. Dancing resumed elsewhere.
•People in their 20s clumped together talking to other people in their 20s. People in their 50s clumped together talking to other people in their 50s. And wait a minute! People in their 20s and 30s and 40s and 50s and talked to each other, too. What a wild scene!
•A joker posed next to the gentleman statue on the green bench in front of the pub proper. Wait a minute. That was me.
There will be much more music listening and people watching available for no cost throughout Central New York this summer. For example, there will be three stages of music at the Taste of Syracuse, in the blocks surrounding Clinton Square, Friday and Saturday. (National headliner alert: Fine Texas blues vocalist and guitarist Carolyn Wonderland performs at 5 p.m. Saturday, and popular jamming John Popper-led band Blues Traveler plays at 9 p.m. Saturday, both on the main stage.)
With all of the food tasting and beverage drinking that goes on during Taste of Syracuse, there's always some interesting people-watching available.
Other weekly outdoor live music series include Wednesday nights at Quaker Steak and Lube; Thursday nights at Borio's Restaurant on Oneida Lake; and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Sharkey's in Liverpool.
What is your favorite outdoor music location? Do you have a favorite story to tell from attending an outdoor music event? What bands do you love watching perform outside better than inside?