Step two: Put on comfortable walking shoes.
Step three: Keep your ears open, because it’s Acker Night, and you never know when there just might music around the corner or in a shop.
What is Acker Night? It’s probably best explained by the Acker Night website, "Along with being a fun, family friendly tradition, Acker Night combines participating downtown businesses with the support of hardworking musicians who donate their time and talents. Their mutual goal is to keep music alive and thriving for the youth of Prescott.”
The first Acker Night was held in 1988 and featured 8 performers in 8 downtown shops. Now, over 100 acts perform in more than 100 businesses along nine streets. There's no way for one person to get to them all in the hours between 5:30-8:30, so it’s usually a quick stop in to listen to a song, or even just part of a song, and then on to the next place. And the crowds were not deterred from jamming sidewalks and business doorways despite the chilly weather. Besides, most shops offered cookies and hot beverages for free, which helped warm the insides.
While some performers chose to celebrate the season, not all musical choices were centered around Christmas. Offerings of classical, jazz, country, rock and gospel were heard in individual locations. In some cases, it was an individual sitting on a chair with a guitar. In other cases, it was a choir or a group. Some of the performances spontaneously turned into sing-alongs, like the Hallelujah chorus in the middie of Gurley Street. Some had people clapping along, others were perfect for listening and reflecting. But all were there for the purpose of helping to raise scholarship funds for music lessons, instruments and local youth performing arts programs.
If you weren’t able to make it last night, you’ll surely want to put it on the calendar for next year. But for now, we’ve got a few samples for you to enjoy, and maybe even sing along: