by Bob Geary
No irony intended, I'm certain, when the ComeUnityNow folks billed their event in City Plaza tomorrow as "the hottest festival in town." it will be that, with temperatures forecast to go above 100 degrees. But it's Raleigh in July, so cool is not an option. And it's for a good cause — with proceeds going to people slammed by the April 16 tornado ...
The event is 10 am-10 pm on two blocks of Fayetteville Street and in City Plaza. Music, dancing, art. Two stages. Mostly free, but $10 VIP tickets will be sold to enter the area around the South Stage where the featured musical acts will perform. Donations for the cause will also be solicited. (There's a second VIP option, which is to buy a $20 card from 360Raleigh; it also entitles you to discounts at some Raleigh establishments.)
The key organizers of ComeUnityNow are volunteers — like Jim Bailey, executive director of BuildBridgesNow; Dan Nelson, founder of Streetlight Productions; and Mary Jane Clark, who needs no title — who put their heads together after the tornado and after the 2011 Raleigh Wide Open festival was cancelled by the City Council.
Try putting a street festival together in three months ... but they've done it with help from A-list sponsors like WRAL, Curtis Media Group (WPTF-680 etc.), the Raleigh Downtowner, and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, plus some help with the bands from Deep South Entertainment.
It'll be hot, no question. Dress light, bring sunscreen ... and a donation.