Thursdays Downtown return this week -- with all the food, fun, and, uh, traffic closures you remember from 2019. Here are a few things to know as you navigate this year’s weekly fest.

Related: 42 July and August fests and events! Plus: the rundown on this year's Thursdays Downtown

1. The layout hasn’t changed as much as you fear

Earlier in the spring, the Rochester Downtown Alliance had planned to open the north side of First Avenue by July 15. According to the RDA’s event map, 2021’s fest will eventually stretch from First Avenue NW to historic Third Street Southwest, much as it has in years past. And while Peace Plaza East -- the portion containing the fountain and Chateau Theater -- is still closed, the street opposite -- including the Peace Plaza stage -- will be open and full of vendors.

2. Speaking of vendors…

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There are 72 booths listed for the first Thursday Downtown -- including local favorites like Chester’s Kitchen & Bar, area specialists like LARK Toys, and new faces, like SETO Bakery. And there’s still space on the north side of the street.

3. The crowds -- oh my, the crowds!

The RDA estimated that 222,000 people took part in the 2019 Thursdays Downtown season -- that’s about 20,000 participants every Thursday.

4. The music is as good as ever

Catch the Irish-infused RavensFire Band, the folksy Jeremiah Nelson Band, and singer-songwriter Jerrod Niemann at the First Avenue stage Thursday. Not your style? Country singer Robert Coates, Miloe (Bob Kabeya’s musical project), and Twin Cities cover band Rhino. See the full lineup at

5. It all goes down this Thursday

… And every Thursday through Sept. 9, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. See you there!