Taylor LaValley, middle, played a mix of acoustic originals and covers in front of Irises Cafe and Wine Bar on Saturday during the inaugural First Weekend in Plattsburgh. Ralph Senecal, who often takes the stage with LaValley at open mic nights at the Monopole, accompanied her on the djembe.
Photo by Shaun Kittle.
PLATTSBURGH—On Saturday, Plattsburgh’s inaugural First Weekend transformed downtown into a different kind of place.
It was the kind of place where musicians set up in front of businesses, happily belting out melodies to the delight of people passing by.
It was a place where children played in the streets, steering miniature police cars and farm tractors between orange traffic cones.
It was a place where people sat outside, conversing amongst each other while enjoying a late lunch.
The effort to hold First Weekends downtown came as a collaboration between several non-profit groups and volunteers, including Vision 2 Action, Adirondack Young Professionals, North Country Cultural Center for the Arts and ROTA Gallery, who agreed it was time for Plattsburgh to make a change.
“If we can keep the same momentum for the next one that we had for this one, it’s going to be a great summer for Plattsburgh,” said Champlain Wine Company owner Dr. Colin Read, one of the event’s organizers and chair of the SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Finance and Economics.
First Weekends will take place on the first Friday and Saturday of every month through September, with the next one slated for July 5 and 6.
Each First Weekend will begin downtown with various activities held on Friday night and will continue with an afternoon full of events the following Saturday.
Last Saturday, City Hall Place was blocked off to traffic from Bridge Street to City Hall, which provided space for the kid-friendly activities and street performers.
“The vision is to have musicians performing every 20 feet downtown,” said Lowell Wurster, member of local band Lucid and one of the event’s organizers. “Music is one thing you don’t need money to do.”
Wurster jammed on the street with some of his bandmates and his sister, Catie, and father, George.