DRYDEN — The aroma of grilled chicken and burgers wafted across the yard, propelled with notes of country music played over loudspeakers. Families and friends brought lawn chairs and umbrellas, ready for an evening of food and live music regardless of the heat.
More than 60 people packed the pavilion and yard behind the Dryden Veterans Memorial Home for the last performance of this year’s Dryden Summer Concert series.
“We do it every summer,” said Michelle Morse, steward for the memorial home. She has helped organize the event, with the support of the town, for the past four years. “For this concert series, this is the sixth and last one for the summer.”
Winners of the 2021 Syracuse Sammy Awards “Country Album of the Year,” Cortland band Tink Bennett & Tailor Made, had quite a few fans in the audience Wednesday evening. Sue Sill of Lansing traveled with a friend from Newfield to see the band perform.
“This was the first time I’ve been here until she told me that they were playing,” Sill said. “The band is great, they’re really awesome.”
Sill sat at the picnic bench closest to the band, hoping to get the perfect view to record a video. Her fellow audience members cheered for the band, chatted and feasted on the food and refreshments sold by the Veterans Memorial Home restaurant.
Leigh Jackson and Amanda Cave, both from Dryden, said they live just down the street, but didn’t make it to any of the concerts earlier this summer.
“We’re looking forward to live music, maybe some dancing,” Cave said, setting up her lawn chair in the yard.
“And no kids!” Jackson chimed in. She loves her kids, who are 3, 4 and 6, but she’s happy to have time away from the house.
The two friends have been wanting a girls’ night out for a while, Cave said. “You’ve got to get out and enjoy yourself.”
For Morse, this concert series is all about community and bringing people together — especially after a year of social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It helps people see things are getting back to normal — a bit of normalcy,” Morse said.