Jesse Priest kicks off Heritage Park’s free Concerts in the Park series

Friends show off their dancing skills Thursday night at Heritage Park’s first free Concerts in the Park event. Jesse Priest performs on stage. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – It’s September, and that means Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism has kicked off its annual free Concerts in the Park series at Heritage Park. Last night, local favorite Jesse Priest performed an acoustic set for a relaxed crowd gathered around the park’s fountain.

The heat of the day had diminished and a nice breeze was blowing by the time the concert began. Folks came out with their lawn chairs (some brought their dogs) and enjoyed a beautiful sunset and some great music.

Staff at nearby Woodland Village Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center walked a group of residents to the park for a nice night out. Robert Foshee, April Smith, Sheila Cox, Kristen Clouse and Miranda Weaver, all members of the Woodland staff, said they love bringing their residents to the free concerts.

“We post the schedule and they know which concerts they want to come to already,” said Smith. “Some of them like the gospel and others like the country and the oldies. We play a game of Name that Tune with our residents and they really enjoy that.”

At least a dozen residents asked to come to the first concert, and based on the smiles and foot tapping, they were glad they did.

Another group of friends gathered in front of the stage and showed off their line dancing skills while others just sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Priest sang and played for the entire two hours.

After the show, he said, “I had a great time. This was a nice crowd and I will be back at the end of the month with the full band. I hope everyone had fun.”

The free concerts are each Thursday night in September at Heritage Park from 6-8 p.m. The Cadillacs will be performing oldies Sept. 13. Gospel group The Plant Family is scheduled for Sept. 20 and Jesse Priest Music will conclude the series with a night of classic rock Sept. 27.

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Christy Perry