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Summer festival concludes Thursday

No matter what the calendar or weather indicates, Thursday marks an end to summer — the final Thursdays on First and Third street market and music event in downtown Rochester.

But don't despair, organizers of the popular outdoor series are already working on the dates for next year, said Heidi Mestad, director of community engagement for the Rochester Downtown Alliance, which runs the festival.

"There's been a fabulous turnout," Mestad said. "The community has been out there."

Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people attended the event each Thursday. In 13 weeks, only one week's event was rained out, she said.

"We wanted to create something that's a community gathering place, where you run into people you know," Mestad said. "Down By The Riverside does that and Rochesterfest. We want to be in that niche. It's a nice reputation to grow into."


Organizers, downtown alliance staff members and volunteers create an enjoyable atmosphere that integrates diverse groups, she said. There is a variety of entertainment on two stages, and 120 vendors sell food and art, she said.

"The genres of music and entertainment appeal to large groups of people from polka to rock to country to a lot of different things," she said.

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