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People dancing on the lawn

Kids and adults show off their dance moves on the town square. The goal of the Sizzlin’ Summer Series is to get everyone moving, and help people of all ages realize that they can have fun and be active at the same time.

Sizzlin’ Summer Series

Burnsville, NC

Yancey County

Every Saturday during the summer, Burnsville’s town square is full of families laughing and playing. They are downtown for the Sizzlin’ Summer Series organized by Partners Aligned Towards Health (PATH). PATH coordinates the logistics, the Town and County sponsor the series, and community organizations volunteer to host one of the events.


Some previous themes include:

  • Ballroom Dancing: Professional dance instructors led 30-minute dance lessons, and opened the floor to free style dancing in between sessions.

  • Hula Hooping: Volunteers made hula hoops from donated plumbing supplies, and a professional storyteller narrated tales while people hula hooped on the lawn.

  • Reading is Alive: Actors put on a live performance of a book. The library brought out their bookmobile to sign kids up for their summer reading program and give each kid a free book.

  • Cooking Demo: Volunteers cooked and sampled food from the Farmer’s Market next door, and gave out recipes and a list of ingredients.

  • Inflatable Obstacle Course: An inflatable obstacle course and slip n’ slide were set up, allowing people to cool off on a hot summer day.

  • Soccer Field Day: On the day of the annual Craft Fair, which is also held in the town square, the Sizzlin’ Summer Series moved to a nearby soccer field to play and practice soccer skills.

  • Zip Line & Slackline: Volunteers set up a zipline for kids and slackline for both adults and children to try a new way of having fun outdoors.

On a post-event survey, 80% of respondents said that the Sizzlin’ Summer Series encouraged their family to do additional fun and active activities, and 90% reported that they visited at least one downtown merchant while they were at a Sizzlin’ Summer event. This shows that events like these can increase physical activity, bring the community together, and support the local economy. Here are some tips from PATH to organize a similar program:

  • Connect with Local Businesses and Organizations: Many local organizations sponsored or volunteered to organize one of the events. This made it easier to coordinate and fund the event, and sponsors benefited from advertising.

  • Spread the Word Far and Wide: PATH sent out a press release for the entire series at the end of the school year, then followed that up with weekly announcements. They also put up signs on the day of the event to let people know it was free and open to the public.

  • Think about the Necessities: PATH provided water coolers, trash bags, and a sign-in sheet with a liability waiver for each event. They also distributed mini sunscreen bottles that were donated by a local organization.




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