It sounded like a good idea.
The Downtown Merchants Association figured a street fest could kick off summer. So yesterday they blocked off Main Street, hired a Jersey band, brought in street performers, threw in the Oscar’s hot dog cart, added some non-profit booths, and waited for the crowds to come.
They never did.
The folks who were there — primarily young kids — had fun. But numbers were low, and the buzz organizers were hoping for never got beyond a drone.
There were a few problems. On a late May Thursday, nearly every Westporter’s evening is booked solid.
Promotion was spotty — and the target audience unclear. Was it a family event? For young kids only? Did they want high school students, to make it cool? No one knew.
And whoever handled weather messed up big-time.
The DMA is undaunted. President Bob LaRose hopes for more Street Fests this summer. Once school is out — and the word gets around — and this stupid cold rain leaves — the idea may take off. Main Street could pulse with life on warm, lazy nights.
Here’s another suggestion for putting a pulse into our moribund downtown: Instead of hiring vendors to sell wine and beer on the sidewalk, figure out a way to bring back some of our old funky bars, dance clubs, coffee shops — and maybe a movie theater or two.
Every night could be a Street Fest.