Downtown Lawrence Kansas – What Makes It Great

April 20th, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

There is an endless list of things that sets Downtown Lawrence, Kansas apart from downtowns in other communities. This will be the first in a series of articles in which I share with you all the reasons that I believe Downtown Lawrence is great.

As I write this article, I am anticipating one of my favorite reasons. I’m sitting in South Park on a perfect summer evening. Frothy clouds skim across the sky and the temperature and humidity are uncharacteristically comfortable for a summer night in Kansas.

The Lawrence City Band is assembling and tuning up while friends and neighbors find the perfect spot to spread their blankets and set up their chairs. Over my left shoulder, the Hoop Mamas are demonstrating their prowess with colorful hula hoops and to my right, Bill the Balloon Man already has a line of eager children waiting for him to twist his colorful balloons into fanciful shapes. Before the night is over, there will be dozens of kids sporting balloon hats shaped like flowers and Jayhawks, wielding floppy swords and sending their butterflies lofting into the sky.

The concert begins as the crowd stands to salute the presentation of the colors accompanied by a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. The announcer’s deep, sonorous voice introduces each piece as the audiences settles in for an hour of great music, good company and a quintessential small town America evening of fun.

There is a place for every type of audience member at a Lawrence City Band Concert. The eastern quadrant is made up of fairly dense, neat rows of lawn chairs where the serious listeners sit quietly in rapt attention, only commenting to their neighbors when the piece is over and they applaud the band. On either side of this group, you’ll see more blankets than lawn chairs and an abundance of picnic baskets, dogs and kids. The crowd thins out as you move toward the west quadrant where there is decidedly more visiting than listening. There are folks reading the newspaper, children running around, Frisbees being tossed and bicycles being ridden. And, you will see all shapes and sizes of dogs, some resting quietly at their owner’s feet, others barking playfully at every child that goes by.

What you won’t see is anybody objecting to the talking, romping and playing. The overarching attitude is a congenial, to each his own enjoyment of the beautiful evening, the pleasure of the outdoors and the sounds of the Lawrence City Band Concert.

I feel blessed to live in a community where dreadlock wearing free spirits can live in harmony with their traditional, Midwester


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