Editorial: 'Off the Rails' summer music series kicks off at Burr Park Friday night offering family fun

Family-friendly, fun and free?

Throw in outdoor, summertime concerts in a downtown setting and the combination is hard to beat.

The "Off the Rails" summer music series at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton kicks off Friday night. Throughout the summer, all concerts are open to the public and begin at 7:30 p.m.

Friday night through Aug. 2, there are 10 concerts scheduled with a bonus event on Friday, Sept. 20. In keeping with the rail theme — as railroad tracks run behind Burr Park — that final concert is titled the "End of the Line Concert."

Whether you're into Motown, blues, Southern rock, jazz, funk or Latin music, many musical genres will be represented.

Four years ago, the summer music series started as a venture between the Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau and the city of Dalton. This is the second year the event has been held at Burr Park. The Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Creative Arts Guild, Dalton Utilities and the Downtown Dalton Development Authority are the event sponsors.

We appreciate these organizations and other people — including park benefactor and Dalton resident Jeanne Burr, whose $1 million donation made the park and programming possible — that have worked to organize this concert series.

We encourage everyone to attend as many concerts as possible. Seeing downtown Dalton buzzing on a Friday night is quite a departure from years past, and we want to see that momentum continue.

You can make a night of it by having dinner and drinks at one of the downtown restaurants, and continue the fun after the music ends. The concerts will roll on rain or shine. In the event of rain, the concert will move under the parking deck next to Burr Park.

The concerts begin as the sun begins to set, so even during the dog days of summer the heat isn't unbearable. Two large, recently installed shading apparatuses will provide relief from the sun. Organizers suggest you bring lawn chairs or blankets as seating is limited.

You also may want to bring your dancing shoes for a summer of music and fun.

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