The sun may have been shining brightly in the sky, but one star was out during the live-painting event outside the Limestone County Courthouse as part of the first Fridays After Five event of 2021.
Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and Athens native Brittany Howard made a surprise visit to The Square as street artist ARCY painted a likeness of her on a tribute board for Athens Main Street's Merchant's Alley project.
Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said even she did not know that Howard was going to visit the event, which featured several members of her family as well as other residents watching the painting come to life.
“I had goosebumps,” Richardson said. “I really thought the artist, who is a big fan of hers, was going to faint. The family was so gracious, and I was so honored to have them.”
Richardson said the tribute board exceeded her expectations and turned out fantastic.
“I think one of the really great things about it is it brought a lot of people from the community together,” Richardson said. “It was a wonderful event.”
Fridays After Five, Singing on The Square
The live-painting event coincided with the beginning of the First Fridays After Five, which Richardson said may have broken attendance records. It was the first event in the series in around a year, as most of the dates in 2020 were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had more people than I've seen downtown in a very long time in one of the best-attended events we've had,” Richardson said.
Fridays After Five coincides with Singing on The Square, part of the Summer Concert Series hosted by the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association.
President Teresa Todd said turnout was amazing for the first concert of 2021, which featured husband and wife duo Briana and Garrett Dean.
“People are definitely ready to attend events like this again,” Todd said. “It was tremendous, and then to have Brittany Howard come out to the unique event Main Street was having, everyone was geeking out. As long as I've been doing this, that's the largest draw we've had.
The next Fridays After Five and Singing on The Square events are scheduled for June 25. The next performer scheduled as part of the concert series is Matt Prater.