A New Canton tradition returns: Friday Night Jam gives opportunity

Published 6:21 pm Saturday, August 12, 2023

After a slow start this year, a New Canton business is bringing one of its musical traditions back. The Best of Times store has brought back its Friday Night Jam. 

Mark Herndon has owned Best of Times, located at 28132 N. James Anderson Highway in New Canton, for two years now. The store sells a variety of vintage and antique items ranging from lamps, outdoor and indoor furniture, signs and knick-knacks. 

Last year, a customer at the store was talking about how he missed playing the banjo and performing ever since the pandemic closed things down. After hearing this, Herndon decided to give an opportunity for musicians to perform and the community to enjoy. 

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The next performance will be on Friday, Aug. 18. The plan was for this to take place once a month from April to October but it got a late start and had its first in July. Folks are encouraged to come out and bring their own chair to experience live music in the grassy area behind the store. 

“This year was slow out of the gate but last month we had good attendance and nine performers,” said Herndon. “There was lots of good music and people hanging out.”

Features of the New Canton shows 

Generally, the music is bluegrass, gospel and country even though there is no set rule on what to play and anyone can participate. There has been a variety of performers including banjo, guitar, stand-up bass, singers and even a case of harmonicas. It’s not an organized night as folks can show up and play what they want. 

At July’s jam, the event had the largest attendance to date. J’s Catering came out and provided food. Herndon hopes that they will be able to come back for more shows since there aren’t many food options in the New Canton area. 

BestOfTimesStore is still new to the area and hopes that the Friday Night Jam can help them get to know the community and for people to know they are there. Heron moved down from Maryland to start his own antique shop after previously working in one. With family in Farmville, they liked the area and settled in New Canton. 

“We love it,” said Herndon. “It’s a change of pace from Maryland and we don’t miss that D.C. commute. People down here have been great.” 

Herndon enjoys the freedom of having his own store and choosing what items to sell. He likes choosing items that he knows customers will like and choosing interesting pieces. With similar shops in the area, he doesn’t see them as competition but as a networking opportunity. If someone comes in the shop looking for something specific he will gladly send them somewhere that has what they are looking for. 

To stay up to date on the Friday Night Jams, visit BestOfTimesStore on Facebook.