'Right-Sized' Bright Lights Is a Celebration of People, Creativity
Instead of focusing on a gathered street festival with national musical acts, the neighborhood(s) will celebrate their individual businesses, artists and musicians.
Jackson is the kind of town where collaboration happens often. Whether by necessity or the intense desire to build community and a sense of belonging, it’s no surprise to see competitors working together here.
Such is the case for the annual Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, now simply dubbed Bright Lights, a nod to the shining members of a scrappy creative enclave in the center of Jackson.
Belhaven and Belhaven Heights, making up the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood (and represented by a foundation of the same name) have chosen to scale back their annual summer celebration. Instead of focusing on a gathered street festival with national musical acts, the neighborhood(s) will celebrate their individual businesses, artists and musicians and, intentionally, the Jackson community, all day, on August 27.
“We’re doing what we do as our businesses - as a neighborhood, as collaborators and places that are independent of each other – every day – but in a more celebratory way,” said Robbie Raymond, owner of Sunflower Oven, a bakery and cafe in Belhaven Heights. “I want [attendees] to go home that night like, ‘This is life here … this is what this neighborhood offers.’ It always feels so exciting to live in a city and have this familiar small-town energy around.”
With activities planned from early to late – including trivia and brunch at Sunflower Oven, a musical “neighbors stage” and JXN Flea at Urban Foxes and The Heights - and a vendor market at Beans and Bananas at the Belhaven Town Center – Urban Foxes’ Molly West says the day revolves around people.
Reflecting on the neighborly bonds of the last few years during the COVID-19 pandemic, she notes, “That’s part of what focuses us, being able to reconnect as businesses, as creatives, as neighbors.”
The Bright Lights team, composed of West, Raymond, Leslie Granger (Beans and Bananas), Connor Reeves (Fertile Ground Beer Co.), Ahmad Thompson (JXN Flea), Jennifer Welch (Belhaven Residential), Steve Pickering (GBF Executive Director) and Cody Cox (music), among others, call this iteration a “right-sized” event, something more organic and akin to the fest’s earlier roots.
“I’m thrilled an event like this that has such a history," Raymond says, "can move in a direction of supporting the people that live here and wants to celebrate them."