Abigail Harrison, Correspondent
Members of the Jacksonville community came out on Thursday, August 19 to support the annual Spirit on Mountain Street.
The event, which started fifteen years ago, began as a way to raise funds for the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) and has grown into a community-wide event that offers fun activities for all ages.
Spirit on Mountain Street is co-hosted by the Aligned Insurance Agency and the JSU Student Government Association to benefit an important cause. All of the proceeds of the event go to support the JCOC, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to local families that are in need. The organization offers several services such as financial help with utility bills, food, clothing, school supplies, and medical treatment. JCOC also helps families during the holidays by sponsoring families for Christmas, providing meals and toys for children.
The work the JCOC is doing to help the community is important to the Aligned Insurance Agency, and Cathy Lilio, event coordinator of Spirit on Mountain Street, especially enjoys seeing the organization’s work in action.
“It is of huge importance to the community. It makes such an impact,” said Lilio. “I’ve done the Toyland for about three or four years and just seeing the families that come through in need and how much it helps them makes it all worth everything it takes to put this event together.”
The event started at 6 p.m. with “Taste of the Town,” a taster’s fair featuring several local restaurants such as Effina’s, Baja, Yomato, and many more. Participants of the event could purchase tickets for one dollar each to use at their desired booths, having the ability to create a plate ranging from fried rice to pizza.
In addition to “Taste of the Town,” several food trucks and non-food vendors were set up for customers to make individual purchases with cash or card. Some of these vendors include Buff City Soap, Bloom Blu’s Boutique, and Candyland Shaved Ice.
Spirit on Mountain Street had other fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy such as a cornhole tournament, a hot dog eating contest, and a kid zone. People could also watch performances by the Kitty Stone Singers, the JSU Jazz Combo, and the JSU Steel Band.
The night ended with a free concert on Burgess-Snow Field by country music artist Michael Ray. The stadium was filled with members of the community and JSU students- all excited to watch Ray. Everyone was electrified when he performed some of his hit songs like “Whiskey and Rain” and “Kiss You in the Morning.” The concert was a perfect way to end such an important event that brought enjoyment and entertainment to the community.
It was really special to see all of the people who participated in Spirit on Mountain Street despite the weather conditions and other setbacks. However, Lilio expected nothing less from the Jacksonville community, which is filled with love and support for its members.
“This year because of COVID and everything, we did run into some snags because people were short staffed and sick and things like that, but as you can see, we still pulled it together. We have a really good community that loves to help each other,” said Lilio.