“It's changed dramatically,” said Katie Turner, entertainment and booking manager for The Celtic Fox. “Downtown used to be just a complete ghost town after 6 p.m. There was nothing going on. There was hardly even life on the street.” Turner pointed to ...and more »
Owner Mike Fox knew as long as there were people in the Capitol building, The Celtic Fox at the corner of S.W. 8th Ave. and Jackson would have business.
For 20 years, Fox traveled across the country, building and remodeling more than 700 units for Payless Shoe Stores. At home in Topeka, he would buy and build locally.
“The downtown really intrigued me,” Fox said. “And we found this building here which I loved, and I always thought it’d be really cool to have the bar right across the street from the Capitol.”
The Celtic Fox opened in 2003, and while some may not feel that the nightlife scene in Topeka has improved, those who have spent more than a decade downtown beg to differ.
“It’s changed dramatically,” said Katie Turner, entertainment and booking manager for The Celtic Fox. “Downtown used to be just a complete ghost town after 6 p.m. There was nothing going on. There was hardly even life on the street.”
Turner pointed to the addition of lofts and apartments that have brought more people downtown in the evenings, as well as the art installations and the features along South Kansas Avenue. She also cited First Friday activities and efforts by Downtown Topeka Inc., Visit Topeka and other groups to bring more events downtown.
”I mean, last summer really was the first time that it was exciting to be downtown,” she said.
“We’re really trying to pack the summer full of fun events that we’re doing, that DTI and Visit Topeka are doing, we almost have something going every single weekend at least through the middle of August, which is very exciting for downtown,” Turner said.
Traveling across the country for business, Fox said he spent a lot of time in different cities and would travel to their downtowns and compare them to Topeka’s.
“These other cities had a lot of life in them, and I figured it would just be a matter of time before Topeka caught up to everybody else,” he said. “I didn’t figure it would be this long, but you know, I can see it coming. The downtown areas were kind of the trendy thing to do, and we kind of got a jump-start. We were here before everybody else, so now it’s kind of coming full circle.”
Celtic Fox summer events
June 24 – Tap that Brew Festival After Party
Street concert following the Tap That Brew Festival
Sponsored by Visit Topeka
July 8 – second Saturday summer concert series, performances TBA
July 15 – second annual sunshine reggae festival
Roots reggae music festival featuring Aaron Kamm and The One Drops out of St. Louis, Missouri.
Local art by jewelry vendors
Authentic Jamaican food
July 29 – event pending
August 12 - Second Saturday Summer Concert Series featuring Nucklehead Jones in conjunction with the Crusin’ the Capital Car Show
September 9 – Second Saturday Summer Concert Series featuring Mark and the Sharks
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