Dine + Wine
On Tap Well Crafted 2ND FRIDAY FOUNDER CREDITS CRAFT BEER COMMUNITY FOR FESTIVAL’S SUCCESS
by Aaron Garcia photography by Lisa Crates
Attendees of the 2nd Friday Street Festival check out the beer selection.
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS
hile the 2nd Friday Street Festival Series is wrapping up its sixth season, it’s not quite finished; Case Warnemunde and his Bella Love crew will invade downtown Cornelius twice more this year – on Sept. 13 and Oct. 11 – before focusing on their quarterly Tawba Walk events, the first of which takes place Sept. 28. Reflection and planning will come later. But thanks to the willing participation of our area’s everexpanding craft beer community, Warnemunde knows things are just getting started.
An all-natural fit Seven years ago, Warnemunde knew he was on to something. Back then, the then-twentysomething and his team had just built their Tawba Walk Arts Festival into a hotly-anticipated event that was regularly drawing hundreds of attendees
and vendors. The organizing group, Bella Love, was basking in the event’s success, and rightly so; Warnemunde’s broad-scope, hyper-local event-planning initiative had seemingly materialized a vibrant arts scene from the ether hanging over sleepy downtown Cornelius. Just by getting people together. He had proof that – with the right nudge – old-school, small-town community still had value, even in a world where social networks tend to live online. Soon after, the 2nd Friday Street Festival Series was born. It was a way to let the Tawba Walk continue to carve out its own niche while creating “another event that’s just focused on that monthly community celebration,” says Warnemunde. Since then, the area’s residents, visitors, businesses and entertainers have converged monthly on that eponymous evening, from May through October – just like
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery was one of the breweries present at the most recent festival.
he’d hoped they would. Warnemunde says a key to the event’s success has been providing the “infrastructure” necessary to bring people out of their homes, away from their gadgets and around others. That, he says, is where the beer has come in; including local brewers has allowed organizers to broaden the festival’s appeal past it’s Tawba Walk roots without compromising on the vision of connecting local businesses with their surrounding residents. “The craft brew industry has truly been one of the largest players in this whole idea of connecting communities back to their true community relationships,” says Warnemunde. “It’s really given a sense of identity to
this area that’s been a cultural awakening.” With more breweries opening or moving to the area, Warnemunde sees his community event continuing to expand, just like our local breweries and the community they serve. So far for September, Eleven Lakes Brewing, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Red Clay Ciderworks have committed to participating at the festival. “There’s a huge economic boost these breweries are providing and experiencing,” says Warnemunde. “For them to do their homework (and open in our community) shows they think there’s a huge market here.” He may just be on to something.
The Magazine for the people of Lake Norman by the people of Lake Norman.