PLAYlist’s finale night, Friday, October 1, presents Soul Understated featuring Mavis “Swan” Pool! Led by vocalist extraordinaire Mavis ’SWAN’ Poole (Lauryn Hill, Prince) and powerful yet melodic drummer Jeremy ‘BEAN’ Clemons (who has performed with Gregory Porter and Burning Spear), Soul Understated delivers a beautifully performed organic sound with stellar musicianship. As a result, they’ve appeared at such major festivals as The Blue Note Jazz Fest, The Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest and Toronto Jazz Festival. Mavis appeared in the HBO series Vinyl! Check out this Kennedy Center footage and look at all this local talent rounding out the band:
WNCU’s Friday night Funk, Old School and Disco show and its host, DJ Travis Gales, simulcasts live from Durham Central Park at 7 p.m. Soul Understated play a 90-minute set at 8 p.m. Local food and beverage vendors are Amagee’s, Oink n’ Moo, Epic Vegan Food Truck, JAM Ice Cream, Glass Jug, Bull City Burger and Brewery and Portfolio Group.
We’re back! Make your Labor Day Weekend shine Sunday, September 5, with our first Food Truck Rodeo since the pandemic began. In 2020 we’d planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Food Truck Rodeo, the Triangle’s original rodeo, but had to cancel seven of them, due to gathering restrictions. The Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year, but it’s also a way the 501c3 Durham Central Park Inc. raises up to one third of its annual operating budget, so we’re happy to be back.
It’s also a great way to support local chefs and entrepreneurs on wheels–many, such as Cocoa Cinnamon, Pie Pushers, Boricua Soul and Only Burger have continued to national television competitions, awards and to open brick and mortar locations here in Durham, North Carolina.
But food trucks aren’t a 21st century fad. In the U.S., chuck wagons, pulled by horse and mule were the first food trucks. What was on the menu? Dried meat, beans and coffee got the loggers and cowboys through their work days. Then there were sausage wagons serving to Ivy League students in the late 19th century–and did you know the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile dates back to 1936?
Ice cream trucks and Loncheras (taco trucks) followed. Here’s a walk down memory lane with our Food Truck Rodeos, which have also served to document the changes in downtown Durham’s skyline.
Durham Central Park and WNCU 90.7 Join Forces To Present PLAYlist Concert Series 2021!
Durham Central Park, a downtown destination for outdoor recreation, relaxation and cultural events is joining forces with WNCU 90.7, the Triangle’s jazz and NPR station, to present the 2021 PLAYlist Concert Series! Every first Friday, July through October, as the sun sets and the weekend begins, see North Carolina’s Al Strong, Vanessa Ferguson, Soul Understated and an irresistible tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire. Concerts are free, open to the public, all ages and rain or shine.
WNCU’s DJ Travis Gales will simulcast his funk and disco show live, from Durham Central Park, at 7 p.m., which is when local food trucks, craft beer and vendors begin serving. Bring your folding chair or blanket. Parking is free in the lot beside Durham Central Park. There are restrooms at DCP and the venue is wheelchair accessible.
PLAYlist has presented artists such as Rebirth Brass Band, Too Many Zooz, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Valerie June and Van Hunt to an adoring, often dancing, multi-generational audience since 2017. Last year’s series was fully booked, but had to be cancelled, due to Covid-19. Durham Magazine readers named Durham Central Park a 2021 Best Venue for Live music (large venue) in their annual Best Of Survey!
Admission to PLAYlist Concert Series is free, due to support from City of Durham, Downtown Durham Inc., North Carolina Arts Council, Durham Arts Council, Acme Plumbing, Resolute Builders, Foster On The Park and Morningstar Law. RESERVE YOUR FREE TICKETS.
Sustain PLAYlist Concert Series
If you specify your gift to support PLAYlist and our free programming, gifts of $50 or more will receive a PLAYlist t-shirt (see photo below– a variety of colors are available).
Offering free, welcoming and inclusive programming is integral to Durham Central Park’s mission of Providing Space for Community. In addition to PLAYlist, our programming includes the Children’s Independence Day Parade and Food Truck Rodeos. We also partner with other local groups to provide free, fun activities at the park, from yoga to the annual Iron Pour.
Over the past 21 years, DCP has become a unique activity hub downtown. It’s a beloved community gathering space and some see it as a “sacred” place in the heart of Durham. Why? Because Durham residents and businesses have made an investment in creating, building and sustaining this wonderful urban oasis. None of this would be happening today without supporters like you.
As the non-profit that manages and programs the park, DCP, Inc. relies on your financial support. If you love our free programming or just the feeling that you get when visiting the park, please make a secure one time or sustaining donation on our website at durhamcentralpark.org/donateor mail a check to: Durham Central Park, PO Box 1526, Durham NC 27702.
An estimated 1 in 5 Durham County households can’t put regular meals on the table (Feeding America). Food insecurity has no single face, color, or ethnicity, no nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Food insecurity weakens our communities because it leads to poor health and lower education outcomes. It creates an additional obstacle to economic well-being. The burden of food security has fallen especially on Durham’s African-American and immigrant communities and has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These portraits show some of the inspiring people who have responded to this crisis by supplying free food to those in need. They are among the many Durhamites who run food pantries, cook meals, and give away the vegetables, breads and dairy products they produce.
The photographer, Rhonda Klevansky is a visual storyteller and writer who lives in Durham, NC. She felt the need to bring attention to the extent of hunger in our county and to those who are working to address the problem. For more information about these grassroots responses: https://www.endhungerdurham.org/reachingout
May 21 – July 16, 2021 portraits from the Reaching Out to Durham’s Hungry project will be on view at: Durham Arts Council 21c Museum Hotel Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub Durham Central Park Museum of Durham History
Fun Things to Do at Durham Central Park This Weekend
Saturday, April 10, 1-9 p.m. Downtown Durham Inc. is closing the DurhamCentral Park section of Foster Street to cars and opening it to pedestrian traffic with outdoor seating and buskers. It’s called The Streetery! You can shop, people watch, play, carry out, dine in or dine out (picnic!)
The Streetery is popping up in different sections of downtown on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Help us maintain a safer, socially distanced, outdoor downtown experience. Wear a mask while in The Streetery, keep six feet away from people who aren’t in your group and respect the rules our small merchants have put in place to protect their customers and staff. Buskers/street performers:
Food Truck Sunday at Durham Central Park is a time to slow down, enjoy the day, get some local food–to go, or to make a picnic in the park. We will feature 1-2 trucks per afternoon and City of Durham social distancing guidelines apply.
Today’s featured truck is Bull City Street Food, home of the “Fat Bull” burger. BCSF offers unique & delicious street foods from various regions from around the world. Save room for dessert, The Frozen Bull will be there too!
Durham Central Park’s NEW, free weekly program for preschoolers and their families starts March 30th. Join us each Tuesday, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., at the Leaf when instructor Ms. Kristin reads a favorite children’s story, sings a song or two and re-create the story through play on the ADA-accessible Mt. Merrill playground. After Story Time, you can continue to visit Barnaby, Mr. Pickles the Turtle, Rockin’ Reuben the Cardinal, and create a complimentary craft.
Best for ages 2-5 years
Masks are required for adults and children 5 and up; recommended for younger children if possible.
Parents/caregivers must stay with their child the entire hour and are ultimately responsible for their child’s/childrens’ behaviors.
Rain Location: The Pavilion
Meet Story Time wit Barnaby D. Troll’s Ms. Kristin: Kristin has worked with young children for more than 30 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist in private settings and in the school system. Her love is sharing favorite stories with preschoolers and then retelling the stories as the children actively participate through language, music and play. Ms. Kristin is excited to use Durham Central Park as a platform to read her favorite children’s books.
Do you remember the summer of 2002? Hint: Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” was the #1 song, a gallon of gas cost $1.38 and a lot of today’s top TikTok stars were born.
For three weeks in July 2002, Carrboro artist Michael Brown and assistant Scott Nurkin painted the Durham Central Park magnolia mural on the side of Liberty Warehouse at the park, which was in its very early stages. This was before the bridge over South Ellerbee Creek or Mr. Pickles the turtle sculpture existed.
This example of long-standing public art in Durham is seen by thousands of Park visitors and Foster Street drivers every year. The red oval alone is 36’x25’. The design, inspired by vintage advertising murals, graced DCP letterhead and merch (such as frisbees and t-shirts) for years. (Brown also painted the advertising murals at the Streets of Southpoint.) The cost of the mural was $7000. It was funded by the Facade Improvement Grant Program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Thank you to Virginia Bridges for her original Herald-Sun feature, documenting the project.
Today, the wall of what was Liberty Warehouse is now the south wall of Liberty Warehouse Apartments, below. (Photo credit Ryan Moeller Photography). Here are Best of the Bull and Mural Durham’s maps of other murals throughout Durham, including Scott Nurkin’s wheat stalks above the entrance to 9th Street Bakery.
Durham Central Park, as a park in the Durham Parks and Rec system, is following the guidance laid out by the city and state. This means that during this time, the park, playgrounds, trails and greenways remain open for people to visit and enjoy. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people. The Durham Farmers’ Market remains open following rules and regulations specified by the Department of Public Health.
Additional recommendations include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and staying home when you are sick. The CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away, or sneezing into your upper shirt, sleeve or elbow, completely covering your nose and mouth; use your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Those who are high risk including those who are 65 years of age or older, have long-term medical conditions, or those who have weak immune systems are advised to stay home per the guidelines of the CDC.
Durham Central Park is still the place for community, even in a most unusual year.
Amid the tumult of 2020, the value of these precious five acres in the heart of downtown was indisputable. During stay at home orders, the Park remained open for exercise, play, dog walks, fresh air, and safe socializing as we adhered to local and state protocols.
Despite restrictions on gathering, beneficial activities continued in the Park. The Durham Farmers’ Market reopened in May, offering fresh food and supporting local farmers. Yoga, exercise and dance classes resumed in the Park in July, while studios and gyms remain closed.
Park improvements advanced. Barnaby D. Troll, a generous gift from the Evans Family, took his place alongside the new creekside trail. Kids of all ages can now visit and climb on sleeping Barnaby or easily explore the Ellerbee Creek. New benches were added and soon, we will install a new, terraced garden behind the Pavilion and plant more than 25 trees to enhance natural beauty and increase shade in the Park.
These plantings signal a grand new redesign, a comprehensive land-use plan we will commission shortly that promises exciting new features for our beloved Park.
The Park enhanced the physical, social, and emotional health of our community and helped Durham cope with a global tragedy. Even though event cancellations caused a notable drop in revenue, the success of our new Friends of Durham Central Park program mitigated our 2020 operating deficit and put us on solid financial footing going forward.
DCP, Inc. is grateful for the stalwart support of people like you, which allowed us to accomplish so much in the midst of a pandemic. Your tax-deductible gift of any amount, from $10 to $1,000, helps us continue our mission of Providing Space for Community. We encourage supporters who can manage it to join the Friends of Durham Central Park by making a three-year pledge—a solemn commitment that will support the park’s operations for years to come.
Please do what you can (Friend, Sustainer or one-time donor) to ensure as Durham grows and changes, our diverse offerings will continue to invite people downtown to enjoy a place of comfort and inclusion for all.
LocoPops is adored for their local, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free frozen desserts–flavors like Mango Chile Sorbet and Vietnamese Coffee. Have one, or treat the neighbors. Locopops will donate 10% of pre-tax revenue from online sales on Monday, Oct. 26 to benefit Durham Central Park! Place your order on Monday for pickup or delivery on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Visit https://ilovelocopops.com/ and click Order Online.
Did you miss getting to eat popsicles in the park this summer? We sure missed YOU and scenes like these at our food truck rodeos and concerts. Stock up on some Locopops and eat popsicles FOR Durham Central Park on Durham’s warm fall days!