First Weekends mark first year

— June marks the one-year anniversary of First Weekends in Plattsburgh, a grassroots community group formed for the purpose of bringing people to Plattsburgh’s historic downtown business district, and appreciation of the ‘Burgh’s burgeoning art scene.

After starting from scratch a year ago, First Weekends more than just survived their freshman year. They were able to lay a significant footprint on downtown streets. Through working with local volunteers, arts organizations, artists and musicians, Plattsburgh city government, other community groups like Plattsburgh Renewal, Cardinal PR, and downtown businesses, First Weekends has started a movement that is in the process of invigorating downtown. Rather than rest on their successes, First Weekends is gearing up for a summer offensive that will build on their successes and continue to highlight the arts and businesses downtown.

First Weekends’ Vice President Leigh Carter-Simonette was intentionally coy about an announcement. President Tim McCormick is scheduled to make during the upcoming June First Weekend. Carter-Simonette says McCormick will be making an announcement during the set break of the Blind Owl Band show on Saturday June 7 about First Weekends’ plans for the upcoming summer.

Possibly the most visually noticeable aspect of First Weekends, and one that required the most cooperation between the group and two consecutive city councils, is the closure of certain downtown streets for pedestrian events. This has led some to speculate that their goal is to emulate Burlington’s Church Street, the pedestrian thoroughfare that slices that city’s downtown and has become a haven for street musicians, performers, and artists. To Carter-Simonette, nothing could be farther from their plan.

“I want to keep Plattsburgh Plattsburgh, I don’t want to compare it to Church Street,” she said. “Our first year this community came together. There were all these people and businesses coming together to show support for Plattsburgh. I don’t think that’s the same situation as on Church Street. That’s something to be extra proud of for Plattsburgh.”

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