(Host) Tonight, Rutland area business owners, artists and city officials are encouraging people to come downtown for the first of eight Friday night block parties.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the summer festivities are the culmination of almost two years of work.
(Keck) Many in Rutland have envied Burlington’s pedestrian friendly Church Street Market. So, two years ago when local residents, who were taking part in Creative Economy meetings, began brainstorming about how to make Rutland better, the idea for an open air market resurfaced and gained some traction. Michael Coppinger, Executive Director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, says that instead of a permanent pedestrian mall – Rutland will create a temporary one, on Friday nights – through August 10th.
(Coppinger) “We’ve encouraged all the merchants to come out into the street – to bring their goods right out onto the sidewalk. We’re going to have two bandstands set up. We’re going to have music to provide music throughout the evening from 5 all the way to 9. We’ve also invited other restaurants who are not on center street but are in other parts of downtown – we’ve invited them to come down so we’ll have a wide assortment of food which is obviously a key to this in addition to the entertainment and shopping.”
(Keck) Coppinger says they hope to make it fun for kids with face painting, traveling magicians, sidewalk art and other activities. Party goers are also invited to visit the various art galleries in Rutland and wagon rides will be available from Center Street to the Chaffee Art Center. While the downtown partnership has closed off the street before for occasional summer events, Coppinger says they haven’t been held on a consistent basis. By making the events weekly – he and other organizers believe the summer block parties have a much better chance of success.
For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.