4th Friday in Tryon Celebrates Small Town Charm - TribPapers

4th Friday in Tryon Celebrates Small Town Charm

Publicity Photo. Photo Courtesy of the Town of Tryon.

Tryon – The small town of Tryon, NC, located 45 minutes from Asheville, boasted a packed downtown during the 4th Friday celebration on May 26. Tryon’s independently-owned shops and restaurants offered extended hours, special promotions and giveaways. Throughout the evening, local quintet Zendetta performed jazz standards at the Nina Simone Plaza, named for Tryon’s most famous former resident.

Downtown Tryon is home to nearly a dozen art galleries within five blocks along Trade Street. 4th Friday saw many of the galleries bustling with patrons enjoying artist demonstrations and complimentary refreshments.

“Artsy, quirky, friendly and relaxed, Tryon is a great place to visit, especially on 4th Friday when everyone is out and about,” said Tryon resident Rodger Walker. “For such a small town, Tryon has many galleries, unique shops, a wonderful, restored movie theater and a Fine Arts Center with a busy main stage.”

4th Friday celebrations are held on the fourth Friday of each month to kick off the weekend and encourage local shopping. 4th Friday is organized by Tryon’s art galleries and merchants and coordinated by the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA).

Led by volunteers, TDDA’s mission is to preserve and enhance the community of Tryon through a downtown revitalization program that focuses on economic vitality, excellent urban design and historic preservation.

“Tryon is attractive and successful because people care about everything this town has to offer,” said TDDA founding member Wanda May. “They invest their time and participate in supporting many local organizations.”

The May 4th Friday event offered residents and visitors the chance to meet new Town Manager Jim Fatland. Throughout the evening, Fatland greeted 4th Friday attendees and discussed concerns and goals for the town.

Tryon Town Council named Fatland town manager in February 2023, but he previously served in that role from 2002 to 2008.

Originally from Mesa City, Iowa, Fatland grew up around Los Angeles, California. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University where he studied finance, administration and civil engineering. Fatland worked for three large California counties in a number of roles, including overseeing the largest public works project since the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco County.

In 1994, Fatland moved to the east coast, with roles in Tega Cay, SC, and Asheville, Monroe, Highlands, Brevard and Tryon, NC.

Fatland was the manager of Brevard for ten years. During that time, he earned more than $30 million in grants for water and sewer improvements for the town.

Fatland formed an advisory board of elected officials and citizens to guide the creation of the Ecusta Trail. Now in progress, the Ecusta Trail will connect Henderson and Transylvania Counties and provide outdoor recreation and economic development opportunities for Brevard.

After retiring from Brevard in 2021, Fatland agreed to serve as Interim Town Manager in early 2023 before being named to the permanent position in February.

“Coming back to Tryon is like coming home,” said Fatland. “We still have lots of friends here. Coming back to help the town has already been rewarding. I look forward to moving the town forward on several projects.”