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Downtown Birmingham to host new Thursday night events

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 17, 2019


BIRMINGHAM — Looking forward to the weekend?

For the summer, weekends start on Thursday in downtown Birmingham.

This year will be the first time the Birmingham Shopping District will host a series called Thursdays in the City, a kind of mini art show with live entertainment in the alleyways of downtown.

The shows will last 5-7 p.m. Thursdays, June 20-Aug. 8, and each week will present a different performer, along with new deals from retailers.

“We’re encouraging downtown Birmingham stores and restaurants to offer an extra incentive on Thursday evenings to complement our new series,” said Ingrid Tighe, the executive director of the BSD. “Plans are in the works for special entertainment that’s fun for all ages.”

Richard Astrein, the owner of Astrein Jewelers in downtown Birmingham and a member of the Birmingham Public Arts Board, said the Thursdays in the City concept is reminiscent of a night he enjoyed on the town in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We had dinner, and we were walking around and there were these musicians playing on the corner. And then we turned down another street and there was a chalk art (display) on the sidewalk. So now we’re staying out longer, and it was just a really great night,” he explained. “And it’s not like you have to pay anything — you just have to be outside. And that’s what we are: We’re a walkable city and we love to be outside.”

To kick off the new event, Thursdays in the City will open June 20 with an extended event called Art in the Alley, presented in conjunction with the Birmingham Public Arts Board. From 2 to 9 p.m., Willits Alley will showcase paintings, photography and other art from local students. There will also be a face painting station and an arts and crafts table run by members of the Seaholm Art and Soul Club and the National Honor Society.

Art in the Alley will have a special lineup of live music, with Katie Goard, The Crunch, Decker and the Boogie Boys, Chelsea Grey, Katie and the Tall Boys, Paco and the Guacs, and more.

“We thought about something we could do downtown that would be relatively inexpensive and get people out. Fridays and Saturdays are kind of a night to go out, and Wednesdays there are the concerts in the park, so we thought something on Thursdays would be a nice day to break up the week,” Astrein said. “It’s not like we have to pay a ton of money for big-name acts, and it’s really something that can be enjoyed by the whole family or just the adults. It hits all the right boxes.”  

To learn more about the first-ever Art in the Alley on Thursday, June 20, or other events for Thursdays in the City, visit the BSD website at