With the cancellation of this year’s Park Avenue Festival, some Rochester business owners like Debbie Smith of Deborah Jean and Co. have chosen to participate in an alternative. The Park Avenue Merchants Association is calling it Discover Park Ave.
“We wanted to make it big and exciting and lots of things to participate in here at the store,” Smith said.
The Discover Park Ave event ran throughout the weekend for many of the businesses and included sidewalk sales, special discounts and featured vendors to attract community members to support local businesses and celebrate Park Avenue even without the festival.
“So even though we didn’t have as many people as we normally would have, not as many people as the Park Ave Festival, we had a really good day,” Smith said.
Although the Park Avenue Festival was missed by many this year, those who attended were still happy to be doing something to benefit their community.
“But this is a different kind of experience,” said local author Diane Diprospero-Cook. “I mean, it was better than having nothing, but obviously we’d have a lot more exposure if we had the regular festival, we’d have thousands more.
Smith thinks the turnout for Discover Park Ave could have been better if the community was a little more informed ahead of time.
“For everyone I talked to that didn’t know, they got really excited about it and said they were really happy that we were doing something,” Smith said. “And some people said they were glad it was different from the typical Park Ave Fest.”
The Park Ave Merchants Association hopes to bring back the Park Avenue Festival next year, but until then Smith is content with this alternative.
“I think this is a very good option because next year I want people to know about it much earlier,” Smith said.
“Hopefully in the future we can go back to what it was before,” Diprospero-Cook said.
“We are lucky to live in this area that has the wonderful culture, the festivals [and] community support”.