Jacksonville plans to show its community spirit Thursday night at 6 p.m. with the 14th annual Spirit on Mountain Street.
A collaboration between the city and Jacksonville State University, the yearly event is set during the first week of the fall semester for the university.
“It’s really an opportunity to welcome JSU students and make them feel like they’re at home,” said David Glass, an organizer of the event. “We really hit every demographic in Jacksonville with the students and the community and surrounding areas.”
The event will take place on a blocked stretch of Mountain Street in front of JSU’s football stadium. According to Glass, 60-70 vendors and local restaurants will be on hand to offer samples of their fare, while children can take advantage of a dunking booth while antique cars are put on display.
Musical acts are planned throughout the evening, with the JSU jazz and steel bands taking the stage before Scotty McCreery, a former winner of “American Idol,” goes on at 8 p.m.
Attendance is free, but food samples will cost $1 each, with proceeds going to the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center.
“It’s going to be absolutely huge,” Pat Borstorff, the executive director of the center, said of the event. “There are a lot of activities and it’s going to be great.”
According to Borstorff, the center is a local organization that offers assistance to people with problems paying for food, utilities, prescriptions and even pet food.
“For the center, which has been around for over 25 years now, our motto is ‘helping when life hurts,’” Borstorff said. “We’re a conduit for people who are struggling or have a reduced income to get assistance.”
Borstorff said the money raised at this year’s event will go towards their “Christmas Toyland” drive, which donates toys and more essential items to children and seniors.
Glass said the community is eager to show up for Spirit on Mountain Street to have a good time for a good cause.
“It’s an easy event to get people to. You just tell them it’s for the JCOC, and they’re super eager to give. It’s a great organization.”
Borstorff said she and the center are grateful for all the attendees, sponsors and organizers who help raise money.
“I’m sure that in any town they have lots of good people, but we seem to have an overabundance of people that really care about each other,” Borstorff said.