After a year of inactivity, Downtown Calhoun came to life in a big way when Baxter Dean presented its 10th annual Runway Show and then brought country superstar Sara Evans to the stage on Court Street.

Studio owners Andy Baxter and Hanna Dean celebrated their 10th anniversary Friday with the back-to-back events funded by a host of community partners.

Bridget and Brian Young, owners of Brian’s Auto Sales, were signature sponsors of the runway show and Century 21 The Avenues, owned by Hanna Pate, was signature sponsor of the concert. The Baxter Dean partners are confident the crowd of attendees and the flood of positive feedback across social media platforms proved the community is ready for a revival.

“Sara Evans rocked downtown Calhoun as the finale,” Baxter said. “We were excited to present the first downtown event since COVID hit and were happy to see the huge crowd of excited fans.”

“Andy and I were thrilled at the success of the events and cannot properly express our gratitude to the generous supporters ... It was a joy to see people gather for a safe social experience in the open air of downtown Calhoun,” Dean said.

The event also created revenue opportunities for the businesses that opened beyond their regular hours for those in the crowd who chose to dine, drink and shop.

“Downtown Calhoun was hopping last night, thanks to Andy Baxter and Hanna Dean,” said Jackie Palazzolo, one of the owners of Velo Vineyard and Cherokee Cycles on Wall Street. “Velo Vineyard was open and packed with diners and dancers enjoying individually presented meals and fun music.”

Debbie and Emma King, mother-daughter owners of The Pink Label at the corner of Court and Wall Streets, also took advantage of the crowds and welcomed shoppers.

“It was a great night for our new business, as well as Downtown Calhoun,” said Debbie King. “Emma flew in from New York for the event, so that was a great surprise for me. Then, we were both excited to have Sara Evans shop with us and thrilled to see her wearing our clothes on stage. It was just a fabulous evening all-around!”

The Baxter Dean Runway Show is a studio tradition featuring student models wearing clothes from local retailers. Typically, it is emceed by a student or students. This year, Kade Wright claimed the stage in that role, entertaining the audience with a blend of humor and musical parody. Portions of the funds raised are reserved for student scholarships and support to United Way of Gordon County.

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