Anna Manion, 5 and Isaac Devine, 3, play with childsize antique cars during First Weekend celebrations on City Hall Place on July 6. Champlain Valley Transportation Museum provided the cars.
Clear skies and warm weather invited locals and visitors to downtown Plattsburgh for First Weekend July 5 and 6.
This was the second volunteer-driven First Weekend for Plattsburgh. The two-day festivity was brought to Plattsburgh by members of Vision 2 Action Group, the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts (NCCCA), ROTA Gallery, the Adirondack Young Professionals (ADKYP), Downtown Business Visitors Association, area businesses, the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum (CVTM), and the Imaginarium Children’s Museum.
Music filled the streets July 5 with artists performing such as Convergence, Jay Lesage, Giovanini Bucci, Bruce Lawson, James Van Etten, Herb Carter Jr. Haley Wright-McGivney and Ben Bright. Emily Owens with the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts said more than 100 people gathered around former American Idol contestant and local musician Bright who played outside the Strand Theater.
Music was played from one end of Margaret Street to the other, said Colin Read, owner of the Champlain Wine Company and part of the Downtown Business Visitors Association. Read said his business was busier than ever with Style and Substance offering a free advice night and a wine tasting.
“It was the busiest Friday night we’ve had,” Read said. “The first weekends are getting bigger and better each time and we hope to have the biggest in September.”
On Saturday, City Hall Place was closed down from 2 to 5 p.m. giving visitors a chance to walk freely while listening to 12-year-old singer and guitar player Wright-McGivney who played a range of music and welcomed guests to the family day at the Court Street entrance. Musician Derrick Hackett also welcomed visitors with music playing outside Urban Soles shoe store on Durkee Street.
Tim McCormick, a member of the Adirondack Young Professionals and an accountant at the firm of McCormick and Deon said there were belly dancer performances and more throughout the afternoon.
People were invited to tour the downtown businesses following the Art walk made possible by ROTA Gallery and the NCCCA and follow the trail of original chalk art in downtown Plattsburgh for the first-ever competition.
Owens said there were many incredible pieces on display like a three-dimensional Rubik’s cube in front of City Hall and portraits completed on the walkway in from of the NCCCA. Owens said the winning piece was a long Champy drawn on the walkway that leads from Margaret Street to Durkee Street. The Champy took up the entire walkway with great detail, Owens said.
“It is a larger than life piece and was the majority winner,” Owens said. “We had about 10 different pieces but each piece with the exception of one or two was a group and family project so it got a lot of people participating.”
People were welcomed to the City Hall Place block party by Matt Boire, the sole tour guide for the Greater Adirondack Ghost Tour Company who also welcomed visitors with an exhibit of his antique medical equipment to give guests a peek at his ghostly tours.
The Imaginarium and the Champlain Valley Transportation museum brought child-size antique peddle cars and remote operated robots for kids to play with.
McCormick said together volunteers at the City Hall Place block party numbered nearly 350 to 400 people on Saturday.
Danielle Ross, who attended with her 2-year-old daughter Ada, said first weekend was a happy coincidence she found during last month’s festivities.
“We went completely by fluke and when we knew it was coming back we made it a point to come downtown,” Ross said. “She has a lot of fun and really there isn’t much to do in Plattsburgh on the weekends for kids so we definitely have to take advantage.”
McCormick said he wanted to thank everyone who attended First Weekends in Plattsburgh in June and July.
“We hope they had as much fun as we did,” McCormick said. “We are currently working on the event for August, and September. We will have more events and musicians/artists, and businesses getting involved for the future events.”
Currently the volunteer group is getting a plan together to request City Hall Place be closed off longer for the First Weekend in August.
“We understand that the councilors have some reservations about closing the street down,” McCormick said. “We believe that the turnout for this event has proven that the closure of City Hall Place is not only reasonable but necessary for the safety of individuals attending the event.
“We ask anyone who agrees to join us at the Common Council Meeting July 18 at 5:30 p.m. to show your support for the closure of City Hall Place during First Weekends,” McCormick said.
To participate in the planning for upcoming First Weekends, call McCormick at 420-2224 to find out dates and times for First Weekend meetings.