Weekends are going to be a bit more lively this summer in downtown Arbutus as a new outdoor concert series starts in late June.
"Arbutus Saturday Nights" will feature live music in the parking lot behind DePaola's Pub and across from Center Court on Selma Avenue every Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Terry Nolan, president of the Arbutus Business and Professional Association and owner of Nolan Law Offices on East Drive, came up with the idea after hearing about Towson's similar concert series, "Feet on the Street."
Nolan said that, as the Arbutus business district grows, it is important to come up with enterprises to bring new business into the area.
"We present well to visitors," Nolan said. "Then we need to come up with some strategies to bring visitors to Arbutus."
After hearing about Feet on the Street, Nolan said he thought, "We should have something like that here."
The concert series is scheduled to begin on June 29 with a performance by the band Appaloosa on the small stage set up behind DePaola's.
Nolan said beer, wine, food and drinks will be available for sale.
He said the event will feature family-friendly music and is intended to create a community atmosphere where people can congregate and enjoy free entertainment together.
He said he spent some time knocking on the doors around the Selma Avenue parking lot to get an idea about how the series would be perceived, and said he found most of those residences occupied by young families with children.
"The idea of free entertainment on a Saturday afternoon, they found to be appealing," Nolan said. "Families come, fun is had, music is played."
To contribute to that atmosphere, Nolan made sure the event started and also ended earlier so that those families wouldn't have to worry about having kids out late.
"Then you're free to go," Nolan said.
And it is hoped, he said, concert attendees will migrate to local businesses after the concert wraps up around 7 p.m.
"He came to me with the idea and it was probably a few months ago," said Andy DePaola, owner of DePaola's Pub on Sulphur Spring Road.
"I was all for it. Whenever you bring people together and throw music in there, it's a good thing for everybody," he said.
He said it will not only bring business to the area, but also add a wholesome, feel-good weekend experience.
"I just think it's going to bring a lot of good feelings. A lot of people able to get together outside, I just think it's going to bring a lot of good cheer for everybody," DePaola said.
"Hopefully they'll patronize the businesses around it, including mine," he said.
The event was funded with about $7,500 from a $10,000 county grant awarded to the business association for local projects.
Nolan said the Arbutus business group has a Facebook page for the event where the musical acts will be announced and potential concertgoers can watch video clips of the band set to perform that week.
In addition, those who visit the site can vote on whether they would like beer brewed by Heavy Seas brewery in nearby Halethorpe or National Premium, a beer long associated with Baltimore and summertime, featured at the concerts this summer.