CHAPEL HILL – Tar Heel Downtown took over Franklin Street for pre-games festivities as part of Zero Dark Thursday and it proved more successful than many anticipated.
Executive director of the Chapel Hill downtown partnership, Meg McGurk, said Tar Heel Downtown brought many people onto Franklin Street to celebrate and tailgate before the showdown against the Miami Hurricanes.
“I think it was a tremendous success and it did go fantastic and much than I’d thought, I was very excited and the response that I’ve gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive” McGurk said.
Manager of Lime Fresh in Chapel Hill, Jason King, said the way the event was held worked well for many of the stores and restaurants.
“I think, being that they shut down Franklin Street, that was actually perfect because this is the busiest street in Chapel Hill and this is where everything happens, they picked the perfect spot because it was actually on our patio” King said.
Tar Heel Downtown was one of the few times that UNC and the Town of Chapel Hill coordinated to set up such a large event for UNC athletics. McGurk said she was on-hand for many of the evening’s activities.
“The community and the people that were there at the event, I mean everyone coming up to me and really excited and really happy and everyone that I spoke to was so happy to have something downtown on Franklin Street for them to do before the game, before they were going to go to the stadium” McGurk stated.
The success of Tar Heel Downtown brought more business to many of the stores and restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill. Several places held special events to pull in even more people to their business like Carolina Brewery’s Beer Garden and Top of the Hill’s Craft Brewery’s tailgate.
Both McGurk and King said they look forward to more events like Tar Heel Downtown that bring the community and the school together.
“I would like to pursue looking at doing more events like this definitely; there is not doubt that UNC sports are an economic driver for our downtown and for tourism as well as getting our community to come downtown, I think its kind of a no brainer to continue to do events like this, it was a tremendous success last night” McGurk said.
“Let’s do it again, I don’t know when UNC and Chapel Hill can do it again, but yeah we’re ready for it, so lets do it again” King said.
A family friendly event, Tar Heel Downtown brought many people from the community into Franklin Street to celebrate UNC Football and supporting many businesses. McGurk thanked all of the people that helped put this event together.
“A huge thank you to the Town of Chapel Hill and to UNC and UNC sports marketing, and all of the folks that made this happen, it was a very unique event that we had never done before, we had never that closed stretch of Franklin Street on a Thursday evening” McGurk stated.