ROCKINGHAM — Drizzly skies didn’t keep people off the downtown streets Thursday afternoon for the inaugural Affair on the Square.
The sidewalks were covered with chalk drawings and vendor tables, with local merchants selling sweets, jewelry and other items offered at their establishments.
Several kids were hula hooping while others got their faces painted.
There was also a farmers market set up in the square near the newly-flowing fountain and booths in front of the theater and arts council.
Downtown businesses also kept their doors open past the usual closing time.
Steve Morris said Helms Jewelers was “very busy” as the last customer walked out the door at two minutes before 8. Then another shopper came in to make a last-minute purchase.
“It’s been great, especially considering the weather wasn’t very pleasant,” Morris said. “Many of (the customers) said they hope we do something like this again before too long.”
Morris said he didn’t get a chance to get out see the rest of the action because of the constant flow of foot traffic.
The sound of music also filled the streets, with all three downtown eateries providing live music.
Daily Journal General Manager David Spencer performed outside Henry’s Uptown Cafe on S. Hancock Street. Spencer, on keyboard and vocals, his wife Tiffany, also on vocals, and Devon White, on drums, played fusion gospel as the crowds passed by.
“It was an honor to be a part of such a great event,” Spencer said. “Seeing the community pull together to support each other is what we need more of. We all win together.”
Spencer added that is looking forward to being part of the next one.
Over at Pattan’s Downtown Grille, Bobby Hancock and Tim Stelmat — together as Whiskey Pines — entertained restaurant goers with acoustic covers of classic rock hits, including the Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House.”
Around the corner and down Lee Street, Hudson Brothers Deli was also seeing an increase in customers.
“It’s been great to see,” said Robin Roberts, general manager of the restaurant and bar. “We’ve had kids in here dancing, and on the sidewalks.”
Nikki Fletcher, Charity Davis and Mervyn Celso performed early in the evening, with Derrick Jenkins later stepping up to the mic with an acoustic guitar strapped around his neck.
“It’s been,” said Roberts, who is also a member of the downtown committee, “in my eyes, a success.”
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.