Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's deeper than the SkyShow

I know I’m weighing in on this one a little bit late, but last week was crazy.
I don’t blame WBT for moving the SkyShow elsewhere for economic reasons, but I’m troubled by the slow erosion of uptown traditions.

In the last few years, we’ve lost CityFest, the uptown music festival, and the New Year’s Eve gathering was considerably smaller than previous years. And now the SkyShow is gone.

City leaders have mostly brushed off each cancelled or downsized event. They say uptown is a thriving business and entertainment district and doesn’t need planned events to draw people here. Or they say, these types of events hurt uptown businesses because of street closures.

I’m not buying it.

CityFest, New Year’s Eve and the SkyShow are the type of events that solidify uptown’s standing as the heart of the city. Charlotte is spreading. Every little pocket community surrounding the city has bars and restaurants. Unless you like dance clubs and/or performing arts, you have fewer reasons to come uptown because the suburbs have similar amenities.

Longstanding events, such as the SkyShow and next week’s Food Lion Speed Street 600 Festival, help bring this us all together in the heart of the city.