Ogden residents and former, as well as current and future Weber State University Wildcats, converged on 25th Street in downtown Ogden on Saturday night to begin a new tradition called Weber Town. The event is intended to be annual and is aimed at bringing together the Ogden and WSU communities, making Ogden more of a college town.
The WSU Student Association and Ogden City sponsored Weber Town, which featured restaurant discounts for individuals and groups wearing WSU gear, a nostalgic walk, a free concert by alternative rock band The Maine and a dance party on 25th Street.
The event began at 5 p.m. with various restaurants on 25th Street in downtown Ogden offering discounts to people wearing WSU clothing, showing their Wildcat pride.
“We appreciate the event and Weber, and that the community is all just coming together on 25th Street,” said Tashina Taylor, a manager at Roosters Brewing Co. who worked on Saturday night. “It seems like people have had a lot of fun.”
Taylor said she also liked seeing people come in wearing WSU sweatshirts. With the combined business of Weber Town and Ogden Restaurant Week (a city event showcasing local, independently owned restaurants), Taylor said, Roosters was having a busy Saturday night.
At 6 p.m., Weber Town featured a walk from the Weber Academy location between Jefferson and Adams — WSU’s downtown location before its 1954 move to Harrison Boulevard — to the Ogden Amphitheater, where The Maine’s performance took place.
Many students said the highlight of the night was The Maine, a popular rock band from Arizona that played a free concert in the Ogden Amphitheater. Concert-goers — some longtime fans of The Maine, some uninitiated to their music — danced and sang along, some tapping their feet or nodding their heads, some sitting on the grass of the amphitheater.
At one point during The Maine’s performance, an audience member yelled out, “I’ll pay for your tuition if you go to Weber State.” The Maine’s lead singer, John O’Callaghan, joked that he planned to try to pursue his music career a little longer, but if that didn’t pan out, he’d show up on the student’s doorstep and hold him to it.
McKenzie Williams and Sarah Smith, teenagers and self-proclaimed huge fans of The Maine, attended the free concert with a group of friends.
“It was so awesome,” said McKenzie, wearing her The Maine shirt and smiling. “We got to be really close. It sounded really good. We loved it.”
David Wilson, WSUSA’s student body president for the 2013-14 school year, said Weber Town was a “big, big success.”
“A lot of people came out to eat, everyone’s wearing purple, and everyone showed up for the show,” he said. “It’s great.”
After the concert, the event moved into 25th Street between Grant and Washington Boulevard. DJ David Hancock-Taylor played top hits for Wildcats to dance to, blaring from a sound system under flashing colored lights. Though a bit windy and with temperatures starting to dip after sundown, people stayed to dance a bit, some enthusiastically, others timidly on the outskirts.
Adam Davidson, a WSU student who attended Weber Town, caught The Maine’s concert and stuck around for a bit of the dance party. Davidson said he just came to check out the event and that he’d enjoyed it.
“I think getting involved — with the community getting involved like this — it’s a great opportunity for the students,” he said, “(and) also for Ogden to be able to see Weber Pride, have our school represented like this.”
The event wasn’t without a hiccup of criminal excitement, though. The Ogden Police Department said there’d been an arrest, a transient male who was “intoxicated, falling down all over the place” during the dance party in the street. Security alerted the police, who then arrested the man.
With the first Weber Town’s success, Wilson said, it’s definitely a tradition WSUSA would like to continue in the future.
“(This was the) first annual, so we’re going to bring it back next year,” Wilson said. “We’re hoping it gains momentum and gets bigger every year.”
Video from Weber Town and an exclusive interview with The Maine can be found at www.wsusignpost.com.