By DAN HEATH
---- — PLATTSBURGH — First Weekend, a new cooperative initiative to invigorate downtown Plattsburgh, kicks off this Friday and Saturday.
North Country Cultural Center for the Arts Executive Director Janine Scherline said the goal is to attract more people and families to downtown venues. That includes attractions such as the Strand Theatre and ROTA Gallery, as well as restaurants and shops.
ARTS AND MUSIC
Plans this weekend call for arts events on the lawn of the Cultural Center for the Arts, 23 Brinkerhoff St., from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. There will also be musical performances at the Cultural Center and Cheechako Taco, free admission to the portrait collection at Kent-Delord House Museum and a demonstration at Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts on Brinkerhoff Street.
On Saturday, activities continue with an Art Walk organized by ROTA Gallery, with exhibits in several downtown businesses. Musicians, including street performers, are scheduled between 2 and 10 p.m.
Those who attend Friday evening or make a purchase at a participating location will receive a 10 percent discount redeemable at various downtown businesses the following day.
The plan is to get people out on Friday night and bring them back on Saturday, Scherline said.
The event is led by the Cultural Center for the Arts in collaboration with Vision2Action, Adirondack Young Professionals and downtown businesses and attractions.
“We are excited to partner with a number of community organizations on this initiative,” Scherline said.
Vision2Action member Bob Smith, president of Nine Platt Hospitality Group, said Vision2Action is pleased to support First Weekend.
That group formed to implement the ideas that grew from the Vision 2040 effort aimed to identify what the community needs in order to thrive during the next 30 years.
Smith said it has been nice to see the community rally behind an initiative like First Weekend without Vision2Action having to serve as the driving force.
It is these types of movements that will make recruitment easier for area hospitals, colleges and businesses, he said.
“We just want to support the people who want to make this community better.”
Colin Read, owner of Champlain Wine Company, said First Weekend is serving as a catalyst to bring the energy of the arts and business community together.
“We recognized early on there were an awful lot of aligned interests,” he said.
At least 10 businesses have agreed to participate, he said, and they hope to at least double that by the final event in September.
Numerous downtown businesses have lamented the lack of activity on weekends, so the First Weekend events are a chance to see if the community is willing to turn out to change that, organizers said.
Adirondack Young Professionals past-president and board member Tim McCormick said that when he brought the First Weekend idea to the group’s Board of Directors members, they supported it 100 percent.
It is amazing that the series was organized so quickly, he said, as they held their first meeting in mid April.
McCormick said it was a bonus that they are able to lead in to the Biggest Loser Race/Walk being held this Sunday, as it is a chance to spread the word to those participants about what is available in Plattsburgh.
Plans call for additional First Weekend events on July 5 and 6, Aug. 2 and 3 and Sept. 6 and 7. It is hoped the final weekend will serve as a lead-in to the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration events.
Read said many of those businesses are also taking part in efforts to revitalize the Plattsburgh Downtown Association, which disbanded several years ago.
Anyone interested in joining the business coalition can call him at 561-3828 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Dan Heath:email@example.com
Here's the schedule for the premiere of First Weekend:
Most outdoor First Weekend offerings are free; some businesses may charge for events at their venues.
FRIDAY, JUNE 7
5 to 7 p.m.: Free family art activity, flag mono-printing, NCCCA Arts Center lawn; free demonstrations, Plattsburgh Yarn & Gifts; free admission to portrait collection, Kent-Delord House Museum; music by Giovani Bucci, Cheechako Taco; music by Ben Bright and also Keene Central students, NCCCA Arts Center.
7 p.m.: Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company's tour of Barracks and Old Post Cemetery; $10 adults, $5 younger than 12.
9 p.m.: Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company's tour of the Old Roman Catholic Cemetery on South Platt Street; $10 adults, $5 younger than 12.
SATURDAY, JUNE 8
Throughout the day: ROTA-organized Art Walk, including Irises Cafe & Wine Bar, The Pepper, Koffee Kat Espresso Bar, the Champlain Wine Company, the Great Adirondack Soup Company and Cheechako Taco.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Free demonstrations, Plattsburgh Yarn & Gifts.
2 to 3 p.m.: Music for children by Punk a hontas, MacDonough Park.
2 to 3:30 p.m.: Music by Jay Lessage, Irises Cafe.
2 to 5 p.m.: Music by Ralph Senecal, City Hall Place; Will Scheifley, City Hall Place; Lowell Wurster and Kevin Sabourin, Macdonough Park; Andy Deller, City Hall Place; and tours by Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company, City Hall Place; NCCCA Arts Center, free chalk drawing for youth, City Hall Place.
3:30 to 5 p.m.: music by Taylor, Irises Cafe and Wine Bar; Josh Meyer, Macdonough Park.
7 p.m.: Quartette Gelato in Concert, Strand Theatre; and Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company's Dr. Beaumont's Tour of Terror, Trinity Park; $10 adults, $5 younger than 12.
9 p.m.: Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company, tour of Barracks and Old Post Cemetery; $10 adults, $5 younger than 12.
10 p.m.: Eat. Sleep. Funk, Naked Turtle.