Event-goers enjoy music while practicing social distancing
More than 400 people gathered on the lawn of The Plaza Arts Center on Saturday, Sept. 26, to see A1A: The Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band.
The event was sponsored by the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Eatonton and was a part of the ‘Meet Me at The Plaza’ concert series. Guests sat outside and enjoyed fellowship and music with their friends, loved ones and community members.
The show was the Plaza Center’s first big event since mid-March when COVID-19 forced them to adjust their offerings to the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic. There was an excitement hanging in the air among the guests who showed up to hear the locally loved band. People came dressed in their best Hawaiian shirts and set up chairs, tables and picnic baskets on the Plaza’s lawn in the 10’ x 10’ squares that allowed families and friends already in contact to gather in groups while maintaining social distancing from others.
According to the Plaza’s executive director, Roger Harrison, the squares not only protected the health of attendees, but they also made the lawn more easily navigable for people to reach the vendors and restrooms at the event. Guests had their temperatures checked before they entered the Plaza Arts Center lawn and were required to wear masks indoors when visiting the restroom where only three people were permitted to enter at a time.
“It’s a tribute and an honor for us to be the first ones back at the Plaza,” said Jeff Pike, lead vocalist and guitarist for A1A.
A1A began playing an array of classic Jimmy Buffett tunes, reggae and A1A originals starting at 7:30pm. People began dancing as soon as the music began, and some didn’t stop until the last song of the night. They played fan favorites like “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Margaritaville” and “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.”
Mayor John Reid attended the event and said people did well with social distancing and using the squares that were painted on the lawn to keep separated.
“I think the concert went really well,” Reid said. “The music was good, and the weather was perfect.”
Roger Harrison said safety was his biggest concern about the event and that he was happy with the measures that were put in place to protect eventgoers. He also said hosting the event outside mitigated a lot of the risks associated with the virus.
“It could not have gone any better, safer, or been more enjoyable,” said the Plaza Director. “For our first event since March, it could not have been better.”
The Plaza Arts Center’s next event will be a tailgating event for the Georgia-Florida football game on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 3:30 p.m. They will be broadcasting the game on a large screen and allowing guests to tailgate on the lawn and later enjoy music performed by local classic rock and blues cover band, Fall Line Rambler.