Thursdays on First & 3rd

We expect people will continue to fill the streets for Thursdays Downtown. The food, music and shopping bonanza begins Thursday and runs through August.

What used to be called Thursdays on First and Third begins its 2019 run this week and all we can say is: It’s about time.

Surely, summer is finally here, now that we’re spending Thursdays in downtown Rochester, sampling food and drink, browsing the offerings of craft vendors, and listening to live music. It’s a combination street party and music festival every Thursday from now through August.

But this isn’t last year’s Thursday. In fact, it’s not even Thursdays on First and Third anymore.

Everybody’s favorite day of the week has been rebranded as “Thursdays Downtown.”

That’s one change. The next involves the music acts booked for the two stages each week. Gone for the most part are the national and international acts. Instead, there’s a steady lineup of local and regional acts scheduled to take the stage.

Rochester Downtown Alliance officials said the change was made because vendors had noticed people were more engaged and active when local bands played.

We’re not entirely sure about this switch, but we’re willing to give it a chance. We have nothing against the local artists who will perform — most of whom we’ve seen previously. However, we always thought one of the prime attractions of the Thursday stages was the opportunity to see and hear artists who don’t often come through here. And we’ve heard from some of those artists over the years how surprised they are at the audience for new music in Rochester.

So it will be interesting to see if the local bands can create the same kind of buzz and attendance.

Not new this year is the maze of closed streets, construction zones and parking restrictions that can leave folks who are trying to get downtown frustrated and fed up. Remember that city ramps are free after 5 p.m. Best advice: Be prepared to walk or ride a bike, but keep in mind that not even pedestrians and bicyclists are having an easy time of it downtown these days.

Our hope is that, despite (or because of) the changes and challenges, Thursday remains party day in downtown Rochester. Over the years, this event has provided an ideal meeting place for the community. We’ll see you there.

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