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Pops in the Park Cancelled Due to Dennis

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RALEIGH — Pops In The Park, Capitol Broadcasting's gift to the Triangle was cancelled Monday after weekend rains left the Meredith College campus too wet.

Six inches of rain, compliments of tropical depression Dennis, left the big field where thousands would sit, a soggy mess.

Last year, 45,000 people attended the event. If even half that amount would have attended the fields would have been torn.

Fields adjacent to the concert site would have been filled with thousands of cars. Many would have probably gotten stuck on slick grass and soft earth.

Pops In The Park is a Labor Day holiday tradition. The North Carolina Symphony performs before its biggest live audience, and the concert is broadcast on WRAL-TV and statewide on UNCTV.

The concert, a 20-year Labor Day tradition tradition had originally been scheduled for Sunday night and was postponed to Monday. It will not be rescheduled for this year.

The North Carolina symphony performs at Meredith College on an outdoor stage, and concertgoers drive onto the grounds, and then set up blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the free concert and fireworks.

Rain in the Triangle had been expected to end early Sunday afternoon. Instead it continued through the night and early morning, making the Meredith College campus even soggier.

Before deciding to cancel the concert, organizers assessed several factors: how wet the grass would be for concertgoers; whether cars would have gotten stuck in the mud; how much damage would be done to Meredith College's grounds; and the effect of dampness and possibly more rain on the musicians' valuable instruments.

"It really hurts to call it off," said Pops in the Park producer Phyllis Parish. "We would love to continue and to have it on live tonight for the viewers and have it live here at Meredith for the spectators, but we have to consider the gift Meredith gives WRAL and we have to take into account this beautiful campus. We don't want to ruin it."

An 18-wheeler bearing TV and sound equipment for the concert's broadcast is being left where it is. Its heavy weight would surely tear up the grounds, and possibly lead to its being trapped in mire.

The thousands who love the concert can hope that Labor Day 2000 will be drier.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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