Wal-Mart & Somerset Mall to Host ‘Friday Night Thunder’
Special to the CJ Commonwealth Journal
Live bands, giant inflatables, shiny show cars, Fudge Puppies and barbeque — it’s all part of the newest event on Somernites Cruise weekends, premiering Friday night at the Somerset Mall.
The event, called “Friday Night Thunder,” promises to hit the ground running, thanks to two veteran cruise sponsors teaming up. Wal-Mart and Somerset Mall will jointly sponsor the new event, to be hosted on the mall parking lot, 6 to 10 p.m., the fourth Friday each month, April to October.
“Friday Night Thunder” is the new name for a popular crowd favorite — The Wal-Mart Block Party, held since 2004 in various locations, including The Center for Rural Development and downtown Somerset.
“We are now in our 10th year hosting the Friday Night Block Party and what better way to celebrate than with the partnership of Somerset Mall,” said Allen Adcock, the local Wal-Mart store’s general manager.
The best of the block parties will continue: live bands, inflatables and the show cars.
“Of course, everything gets better with funnel cakes, BBQ, brats and oldies tunes,” said Somerset Mall Manager Carol Tucker. “There won’t be any vendors with rice cakes.
“It’s all about bringing wholesome family-fun events to our community and showing support for Somernites Cruise,” she added. “Our stores are adding an all-day Sidewalk Sale to the mix, inside the mall.”
Tucker mentioned that the mall’s ‘Cruise-A-Palooza’ event last year held on Saturday nights was successful in increasing traffic on the south end, particularly considering its first year.
“We had tremendous support from our neighbors and encouragement from the Somernites Cruise team, especially (sponsor and vendor contact) Brenda Russell,” she said.
“The popularity of the Friday Night Block Party and its loyal following of attendees will bring a crowd to Friday Night Thunder,” said Adcock. “ I encourage Somerset-Pulaski County residents and visitors alike to come and enjoy the fun.
“As in the past, each Friday Night Thunder will be an opportunity for local groups to raise money for their organizations,” he added. “ I encourage school groups and non-profit agencies to contact Carol or me regarding fundraising opportunities.”
Double Nickel Band will get the season started with what band members described as “straight-driving country” and “classic rock.” Influences include a bit of everything from Aerosmith to Jason Aldean. Performance time is 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Other bands scheduled to perform in coming months include The Medley Boys, Bent Penny Band, South of Sanity, and Winding Creek Studio Band.
“All of us are anxious to be on the ‘front-end’ of cruise weekends this year,” said Tucker. “The locals are full of energy and anticipation. There’s a certain nostalgic scent and sound about Somernites I love — Gojo, Auto Magic and listening to the rumble of the exhaust. We say, ‘Bring it on Somernites Cruise’ — let’s roll!”