Pavilion preps for packed day

May 18, 2007|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,sun reporter

For the first time in 15 years, Wine in the Woods will draw thousands of grape fans to the center of Columbia on the same day Merriweather Post Pavilion attracts thousands of music fans to the same location for an evening concert.

Such a convergence of cars has been a possibility before, said Jean Parker, Merriweather's general manager, but it never happened to work out until the pavilion booked Seal to appear tomorrow.

Representatives from the pavilion, the Department of Recreation and Parks, which organizes Wine in the Woods, and county police and fire departments have been making plans for several months to prepare for the overlapping streams of traffic.

"We want to make sure all of our t's are crossed and our i's are dotted to make sure everything goes off without a hitch," Parker said. "It just has to do with making sure your plan is as fine-tuned as it can be."

Parker said she expects "things will run very smoothly" tomorrow night, with Wine in the Woods closing at 6 p.m. and Merriweather's gates opening at 6:30 p.m. for an 8 p.m. show. She said many parking spaces at the pavilion that are used by wine festival patrons should empty out by 5 p.m.

The pavilion's V.I.P parking also will be available to Merriweather patrons in time for the concert, she said.

Parker said the Seal concert could be a good fit with Wine in the Woods. Merriweather is offering $5 off the purchase of lawn seats for the concert to people showing their wine festival wristband at the box office tomorrow.

Merriweather will make sure the box office is accessible for ticket purchases for other concerts, Parker added.

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