We scooted out of town right after lunch Friday and went up to Palatka so my son could visit with my in-laws for the weekend. Part of the reason we went as early as we did was so that we could visit Palatka’s “Third Friday” event.
This is a project by their merchants association and Palatka Main Street. It was only one block long and the block was shorter than our Railroad Square area between Grand and Adams. Some of the stores stayed open late, but it was mostly a street party.
While we were there, they had a band playing out of the side of a truck that has been converted into a mobile stage. We didn’t stay for the folk group that was set up near the other end of the block.
They had arts and craft and sidewalk chalk drawing for the kids and a few other attractions, but nothing major. This was not the sort of over-blown production that sucks the life out of the volunteers who try to man the event. What they did have were lots of little tables and chairs in the street and folks where encouraged to bring their own chairs as well. The other thing they had was a crowd of probably a hundred folks enjoying the evening in the downtown.
With or without formal event hosting by our Main Street’s Hospitality Managers Association, I’d love to see the food / beverage businesses on our Railroad Square organize something like this each month.
We’ve got a precedent: The Market Off Main has a weekly “farmers market” that has attracted a steady assortment of vendors and buyers. My wife and I have gotten into the habit of visiting there for dessert items to take home after eating out at one of our downtown restaurants.
New Port Richey seems to have plenty going on during the weekends. Would you come down to Railroad Square if there were a “Third Thursday” or similar event on a weeknight? Would it be enough to tempt you into having dinner downtown, either before or after visiting Railroad Square?
Food for thought. What do you think?
Rob Marlowe, Mayor