Downtown Rochester to come alive this summer

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 1, 2021

 Shelby Nickerson, the retail manager of Crust, offers up samples of artisan breads during the 2017 Downtown Rochester Sidewalk Sales. Sidewalk shoppers could sample the City White, the Chocolate Cherry Sourdough, the Hammonton Round or the Henry Street Miche.

Shelby Nickerson, the retail manager of Crust, offers up samples of artisan breads during the 2017 Downtown Rochester Sidewalk Sales. Sidewalk shoppers could sample the City White, the Chocolate Cherry Sourdough, the Hammonton Round or the Henry Street Miche.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

ROCHESTER — Downtown Rochester is offering a full slate of activities the next two months, giving community members a chance to return to normalcy this summer.

“We’re really excited to be back in full swing now that the state is fully open and we’re able to host events outside,” said Jenna O’Dell, the Downtown Development Authority’s events coordinator. “Whatever anyone feels comfortable with, we’re comfortable with, but masks are not required anymore and we don’t have to count capacity, which makes it easier for our community and maybe a little more welcoming for some.”

For over 60 years, shoppers have flooded downtown Rochester to reconnect with friends and neighbors and shop one-of-a-kind deals over the summer during the city’s popular Sidewalk Sales event.

Beginning July 15, downtown merchants will set up goods on tables and racks under tents along the sidewalk for this year’s event, which runs 10 a.m.-9 p.m. July 15-16 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 17 along Main Street and various side streets in downtown Rochester. Kids can enjoy a daily craft noon-3 p.m. in front of City Tavern, 423 Main St., during the three-day event.

On Friday night, July 16, Dancin’ in the Street will return to West Fourth Street, between Main and Walnut streets, 6-10 p.m. The whole family is invited to enjoy live music featuring the ’80s cover band The SquarePegz, as well as a TasteFest. TasteFest participants include Catering by Katherine, D’Marco’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, Hungry Howie’s, O’Connor’s Public House, Penny Black, Motor City Sweet Treats, and The Little Donut Factory.

“You can grab a bite to eat, enjoy some great music and just have a nice evening out,” O’Dell said.

Kids can also register for the Rochester Explorers Club and a free kit at the Downtown Collaboration Studio, 431 S. Main St., all three days of the sidewalk sales. The kit will include the Official Adventure Guide, which invites kids of all ages to get outdoors and explore everything the community has to offer through an array of adventures.

“In a normal summer, people are running out of ideas and things to do with their kids, so I think this is going to be extra well-received by parents this year who are looking for more things to keep their kids busy this summer,” said DDA Director Kristi Trevarrow.

Explorers Club participants are asked to complete each activity and to bring proof to the sponsoring Explorers Station — a downtown merchant — to receive a special activity badge unique to that activity. Explorers will have until Aug. 7 to complete their activities — which are geared for children ages 5-12.

“All of our activities are things that are free to do. Some things you do at home and then bring back to the Explorers Station. Some things you can do right then — like cloud gazing, having a campout in your backyard, things like that,” Trevarrow explained.

Downtown Rochester’s annual Movies in the Moonlight series will kick off July 17 with the 2019 release of “Aladdin,” rated PG, in the parking lot at the corner of East Third and Water streets, one block east of Main. Other featured movies include the 1978 PG-13-rated film “Grease” July 24, the PG-13 film “Jumanji: Next Level” July 31 and the PG film “Frozen II” Aug. 7. Before each movie, starting at 8:30 p.m., attendees can enjoy a different pre-show activity that will incorporate the theme of the film each week. The films begin at dusk, around 9:15 p.m., and will be shown in light rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, organizers will make the call whether to cancel a movie just before the event. Organizers say approximately 500 people typically attend each movie, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early and to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on.  

A second Junk in the Trunk, Rochester’s community resale event, will be held Aug. 14 in the Rochester Farmers Market upper lot in downtown Rochester.

“It’s going to be a busy summer,” O’Dell said. “We’re really looking forward to being able to host events again in town.”

For more information, including a complete schedule of downtown events, visit www.DowntownRochesterMI.com or call (248) 656-0060.