Thank goodness for TGIF

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Most folks around here think of Memorial Day as the first day of summer. A few take a more literal approach to the calendar, ascribing that honor to June 21. But for the past six years or so, people in the know have understood that summer doesn’t really start in Suffolk until the city kicks off its TGIF series each year.

The first event of the 2011 season will be held on Friday at Constant’s Wharf Park behind the Hilton Garden Inn, downtown. Each Friday through July 22, bands will entertain and food and beverage vendors will provide refreshments for people looking for an inexpensive, close-to-home way to kick off the weekend. Beginning Aug. 5 and running Fridays through Sept. 2, the event will move to Bennett’s Creek Park in North Suffolk.

TGIF is great fun for the whole family. It helps build community by bringing people together in an informal setting to forge new friendships and new ties. And it showcases two of Suffolk’s jewels, Constant’s Wharf and Bennett’s Creek parks. Without these events, many people in and around the city might not know about these wonderful civic resources.

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There are plenty of things to do this summer, and it can be easy to find excuses not to add to the list. But TGIF is worth an occasional change of plans from the normal Friday-night dinner-and-a-movie fare. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, grab a bite to eat and something cool to drink, listen to the music and get to know a few of your neighbors.

You’ll be glad you did.