Local News

Squirrel Nut Zippers Draw Droves to Carrboro

Posted September 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— There's nothing like the word "free" to draw a large crowd. Friday afternoon, it drew thousands to Carrboro to hear the town's own Squirrel Nut Zippers.

The small town of Carrboro had prepared for perhaps the largest crowd it has ever seen. The Squirrel Nut Zippers, a jazz-flavored band that got its start in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, decided to give the concert as a thank you to its roots.

They band expected a crowd, but admits they were a little naive to think droves wouldn't come out to Carrboro for a free concert. They credit their promotion resources for doing their jobs.

The concert began at 5:30 p.m. and is scheduled to end by 10:00 p.m. It will feature Two Dollar Pistols and Bio Ritmo, in addition to The Zippers.

Carrboro's police department had preparing for a turnout of 5,000 to 6,000. However, locals predicted numbers up to 10,000 to 20,000, with fans coming from all over the state.

"This will definitely be the biggest event since I've been living here," Carrboro Police Chief Ben Callahan toldThe News & Observer. "Fourth of July has been big, but never this big."

Police are sure the commons can only hold 6,000 safely, and parking is limited. Bim and Laurel Streets will be closed, and alcohol, glass bottles and coolers have been banned from the event. Officials are urging visitors to park at Carrboro Plaza and take a shuttle bus to the concert. The fee is $1 each way.

"We haven't told anybody not to come, but we've told them what to expect," Callahan told the N&O. "We know 10,000 or 20,000 people are not going to fit in here. If we get that many, there's going to be a lot of people with no place to go when they get here."

Carrboro will have officers on duty, plus 10 off-duty Chapel Hill officers. Officials hope they will not have to turn people away, but will consider it if they have to.

At the time of this report, there were no crowd estimates available.

andKerrie Hudzinski