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Old Bank District Holds Successful First Holiday Block Party

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, December 08, 2008, at 08:58AM
4th and Main_B Ed Fuentes

On 4th and Main, snow "fell" before the opening of The Afternoons.

Late into Saturday afternoon, Gilmore Associates staffers were rushing around to finish last minute details for the first Old Bank District Holiday Block Party, hoping to let neighbors (and guests) feel something new from the now familiar streets around 4th and Main.

It worked. Along with "causal nightlife center of Downtown," GilVille can add "successful holiday party spot" to its resume. The event seemed to run so smoothly, you thought the token rain sprinkles at 11:05pm were arranged as a warning; a proverbial heads-up that the midnight closing hour was coming.

Even with the brief touch of drops, no one left the front of the Main Stage where “The Afternoons” were beginning their set. Nor did they move from Harlem Alley, where Pablo Calogero and his band were in full swing. In fact, the only caution sought was by those who took shelter in the beer garden under the holiday lights, or the outdoor tables that extended the patios of Pete’s Bar & Grill, Warung Cafe and Rocket Pizza Lounge into the streets.

With the event not yet over, organizer Tom Gilmore was already brainstorming how to improve the event for year two, perhaps via an extension north on Main. Others are looking to get into the holiday spirit. Saeed Farkhondehpour, developer of the under-construction Medallion project, inquired how to prepare his building to allow the well-received holiday lights to extend beyond this year's single block.

No event's perfect. Those under 21 were blocked from entering Lost Souls Café due to Harlem Alley’s green wrist band lockdown. Also, Main Street was blocked off with no compromise, confusing the Late Night DASH drivers who detoured before the pre-arranged block party stop at Winston and Main.

The event succeeded in offering creativity with less chaos than the monthly Art Walks, offering Downtowners a chance to mingle and exchange holiday greetings as neighbors.

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