In this article, you will get all information regarding Better Than Ezra headlines Schenectady County SummerNight on Friday; new kids zone featured – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – Since announcing the return of Schenectady County SummerNight, organizers like Cathy Gatta have heard one phrase over and over: “Thank God.”

The music, the food and the fireworks are slated to return Friday. Running from 5-10 p.m, SummerNight boasts live music from three stages, including headliners Better Than Ezra.

“The Capital Region’s biggest summer block party is back after a two-year break,” said Gatta, chair of the legislature’s committee on Tourism, Arts and Special Events. “We are so proud to once again bring big-name talent and family-fun events to our rejuvenated downtown, and all for free!”

Friday will mark the first time since 2019 that the event has been held. That time allowed organizers time to reconsider that event’s layout, including that of its kids area. Traditionally, kids’ activities have been held on one end of State Street, near the food trucks. However, with how popular the event has become over the years, that stretch became too crowded so this year, the MVP Health Care Kids Zone will take over the space in front of City Hall.

Organizers have also partnered with Schenectady Kids Arts Fest to offer art-making activities, including glazing sculptural tiles, fence art, and assisting with a mural. There will also be face painting, an inflatable obstacle course, a rock climbing wall and performances by DJ HollyW8D. Electric City Puppets will be there to entertain as well. For families with very young children, there will be four lactation tents available for privacy.

Sand sculptor Phil Singer, who in previous years has crafted characters from “Toy Story” and “Star Wars” at SummerNight, will be creating a Minions-themed sculpture for the event, starting at 10 a.m. Rivers Casino & Resort will be on hand with games.

Beyond Better Than Ezra, which will perform on the Main Stage on State Street, DJ Ketchup will perform, as well as Sly Fox and the Hustlers. On the Labatt’s/Frog Alley Stage, party band Grand Central Station is slated to perform along with alt-rockers Hasty Page.

Food trucks will line State Street, featuring picks from Schenectady County businesses. Jay Street businesses will also be open during the event and many of the downtown restaurants will offer pared-down menus to accommodate the crowd.

“We’re getting closer to our goal of truly being able to sustain SummerNight within its own footprint without having to bring in a ton of outside vendors,” said Jason Lecuyer, the county’s special events director. “We’re close. In the next couple years that is the goal . . . [to] sustain this large crowd with all of our local partners.”

Planning SummerNight this year came with a few added challenges. Usually, planning begins nearly a year in advance but organizers were delayed because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. It made it tougher to secure a national act.

Safety and security have also become more of a concern this year.

“Public safety has been one of the biggest things,” Gatta said.

“On the planning front, [we’re] being a little bit more vigilant,” Lecuyer said. “Safety’s always been the key here because this [event] is for all walks of life. We draw from throughout the Capital Region.”

As in years past, law enforcement from the Schenectady Police Department will be posted throughout the area.

“I think the nice part is everybody is on the same page from law enforcement to staff to vendors. This is our opportunity to showcase downtown. That’s truly what it is. The amount of people who come downtown and go ‘Wow, I didn’t realize this is what downtown Schenectady was,’” Lecuyer said.

Schenectady County’s SummerNight has come a long way since it started 20 years ago. It began as a community event featuring regional bands and demonstrations from local performers that would bring in around 2,000 people. Then, the county started bringing in national acts and it snowballed in terms of popularity. In previous years, it’s brought in upwards of 20,000 people downtown.

Lecuyer would like to see it continue to grow and perhaps have it become part of a weekend-long music festival in Schenectady.
“We’d like to get to a point where it’s a big three-day music festival in Schenectady County moving forward,” Lecuyer said.

It might not be too far off. This weekend, SummerNight will be followed by NipperFest, a local music festival slated for Saturday at Central Park’s Music Haven. Then, on Sunday, Music Haven will host Sammy Miller & The Congregation and not too far away, Freedom Park will host the Dyer Switch Band.

Schenectady County SummerNight

WHEN: 5-10 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Downtown Schenectady

Street closures

Street closures will take place ahead of the event starting Friday morning.

Starting at 10 a.m. State Street will close to normal east/westbound traffic at Nott Terrace. State Street will also be closed to east/westbound traffic at Broadway. Streets crossing State Street in a northbound/southbound direction (Broadway, Clinton, Barrett, Lafayette) will remain open Friday morning, but traffic will not be able to turn onto State Street from them.

Here’s a look at additional road closures, which start at 2 p.m. Friday:

  • Broadway will close to traffic entering State Street.
  • Clinton Street will close to traffic entering State Street.
  • Barrett Street will close to traffic entering State Street.
  • Lafayette Street will close to traffic entering State Street.

During SummerNight, Nott Terrace and Erie Blvd will remain open to traffic for those traveling northbound or southbound.

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Schenectady

Better Than Ezra headlines Schenectady County SummerNight on Friday; new kids zone featured – The Daily Gazette

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