WILMINGTON — The Murphy Theatre’s upcoming milestone took center stage at Wednesday night’s City Revitalization Committee.
Main Street Wilmington made a $18,690 hotel lodging tax request during the meeting. The money would go toward a “3rd Friday” event planned for July 20 in connection with the Murphy’s 100th anniversary celebration. The event would have the Cincinnati band Over the Rhine performing the opening concert of the week-long centennial observance.
Darcy Reynolds, Main Street’s executive co-director, said they were going to have a concert July 20 as part of the “3rd Friday” summer series no matter what, but it seemed like a good opportunity to collaborate with the Murphy.
“Over the Rhine was a preferred choice because they’ve taken up residence in Clinton County. They’re very much community-based, they want to be a part of this area. They have the heart and the feel for celebrating important landmarks,” said Reynolds.
She cited the group’s regional draw and that they’ve played throughout the country and even Europe. She said this could open the door to visitors who may not normally come to Wilmington for events.
During their concert at the Murphy in September, Reynolds was amazed at how many people traveled a good distance within and out of state to see them.
“We feel like it’d be a new twist. The backdrop of having a stage in front of the Murphy marquee, it really sets up something special that’s really worth a 100th anniversary,” she said.
Taylor Stuckert, Main Street Wilmington’s vice president, said they want the concert to be outdoors and open to the public.
“We had originally talked about doing the show in the theater but that would limit to several hundred people. This way we can just open it up to visitors to the community and community members, and have the Murphy be the focal point,” said Stuckert.
Jennifer Hollon, a member of the Murphy’s Board of Trustees, asked everyone in attendance to think about how special the 100th celebration is.
“It’s very special for our community because you stop and think how many businesses today are functioning as they did in 1918,” said Hollon. “Think of how many different businesses have gone through the town, into these buildings. This is very unique not only for Wilmington but for Clinton County.”
The city council committee unanimously showed support for the event, and moved to have it discussed at Thursday night’s meeting of full council.
“As we’re changing the way we do the hotel lodging tax it might be more common they get requests like this. I’m very intrigued. I like the partnership with the Murphy and Main Street Wilmington,” said committee member Tyler Williams.
“I think it’s a great event. Anything that gets more people downtown is awesome,” said committee member Michael Allbright.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.