The first Downtown Thursday of the summer got off to rocking start thanks to Owatonna native Har Mar Superstar.
The singer-songwriter performed a 90-minute concert that was presented by the Music Space of Owatonna on Thursday, June 6.
“We had a lot of folks come down and it went really well,” MainStreet Director Shirley Schultz said. “His music was good and his voice is fabulous. It was great music. He plays to quite a range of folks with his blues and jazz.”
Har Mar, real name Sean Tillman, performed a special blend of R&B, pop and soul music and encouraged fans in the hometown crowd to pursue their musical aspirations. Har Mar also paid tribute to Prince with a cover of “When You Were Mine.”
Owatonna was the second stop of Har Mar’s North American Tour. The tour began in Seattle.
Local fans can see Har Mar perform at Rock the Garden on June 29 at the Walker Art Center Minneapolis.
The Ditch Creek Dixies opened the show. The small town Minnesota sisters entertained the crowd with their nice blend of country, rock and pop, as well as a few originals.
“Their style was really good too,” Schultz said. “People really enjoyed it and it was mixed of two different genres of music. It just went really well.”
The event wasn’t just about the music. It also showcased local beverage vendors, local artists and a variety of food trucks. Vendors set up and sold a wide variety of products including homemade jewelry, signs, clothing and bug spray.
“It’s for everyone: young kids and adults, folks after work, families and just the whole gamut,” Schultz said. “People came down for a little bit food and some drinks and they also had some great entertainment.”
Schultz said the best part of the event is it gives everyone in the community a chance to get out and socialize with one another.
“The music stopped and people stood outside walking, talking and shopping for at least another hour,” she said. “When we were closing up, people were still shopping all the different makers downtown and they were in the different stores and restaurants. It just gave them a great chance to socialize on a great summer evening.”
Schultz said, historically, downtown was a place where people would gather to talk and visit.
“Then things changed and stores starting going up out by the interstate,” she said. “So downtowns kind of emptied out. Now the trend is back where people are moving back to their downtowns.”
The Downtown Thursday events haven’t been much of a moneymaker for MainStreet, but the event is great for the community in a lot of different ways. It provides the businesses downtown with a boost due to some extra foot traffic, it gives the community something fun to do and it also improves Owatonna appeal to potential residents.
“People want to get out and socialize, and they love being near downtown,” Schultz said. “We want people to take pride in downtown and feel like it is theirs. People want to feel like Owatonna is a place that they belong to; find a new friend or meet up with a old one after work and just hang out.”
There will be two more Downtown Thursdays this summer on July 11 and Aug. 1.
Travis Thamert will perform on July 11 and J.R. and the Great Mistake will play on Aug. 1.
OHS jazz band will also play at one of the event.