It’s a new look for the Freedom Park summer concert series.
The summer tradition kicks off Wednesday in the outdoor amphitheater on Schonowee Avenue with the power pop group The Blisterz.
There will be 34 nights of free entertainment through Aug. 25 with shows every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m.
The village has just finished upgrades including a renovated seating area, refinished dance floor and improved handicapped accessibility.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” said Freedom Park board President Nell Burrows.
Some bees had nested in one of the wooden tiers so they were replaced with new seating, according to Burrows. Also, some new sod has been laid complete with a sprinkler system. “So the grass is going to stay green instead of getting brown and slippery,” she said.
While the park has always been handicapped accessible, Burrows said it is now easier to reach the seating area.
“It’s tough to roll wheelchairs over grass so we have a larger paved area on both sides in the front row,” she said. “We have a lot of handicapped patrons that come very often so we want to make it as comfortable for them as we can.”
The change to the dance floor was more about practicality, according to Burrows. Last year the board spent about $900 replacing vinyl planks that youths had damaged with holes by jumping off the stage with skateboards. The planks provided a nice spongy surface for dancers, but the park board members discovered that there were more holes in the planks.
“They could not have jumped that far. It had to be malicious,” Burrows said.
The planks have been replaced with a simple paved area.
Other improvements will include a new sound center complete with canopy that will be constructed in the top center of the amphitheater to shelter the sound technician equipment.
The Freedom Park improvements were the second phase of a riverfront beautification project. Last year workers installed riprap and protective barriers to fix the erosion problem that was eating away at the area behind the stage.
“We were losing about a foot a year of the bank,” Burrows said.
The village received two grants totaling $1.6 million to stabilize about a half-mile of shoreline, create new walkways around the river and Freedom Park and install new docks with slips for eight boats.
New additions to this year’s entertainment lineup includes the local rock band Flame, an international touring band from upstate New York made up of 10 people with developmental/physical disabilities, a Paul McCartney/Beatle’s tribute band and Elvis Presley impersonator Bill McGrath.
Burrows said the organizers try to provide something for everyone. “If you were to bring your children to every performance, they would be exposed to a wide variety of musical styles,” she said.
The concert series is made possible through local business sponsors, funding from the village of Scotia, town of Glenville and a $3,000 grant from the Schenectady County Initiative Program. Freedom Park was built in 1975 for the country’s bicentennial celebration.
Parking is available off Beach Road, Beukendaal Temple on Schonowee Avenue and the First Reformed Church on Route 50. Attendees may wish to bring lawn chairs or a blanket.
For more information on Freedom Park and the 2011 Schedule of Events visit www.FreedomParkscotia.org or Freedom Park Scotia Facebook and Twitter. Schedule brochures are also available at several local businesses.
— Wednesday: The Blisterz; power pop; Scotia Glenville Dental Center
— Thursday: The Frank Capri Show; ’50s swing; Schenectady Musical Union
— Saturday: Captain Squeeze & Zydeco Moshers; zydeco; Price Chopper
— Sunday: Music Company Orchestra; classical; Civale Chiropractic
— June 29: Flame; rock; Jumpin’ Jacks
— July 1: The Best Bet Band; classic rock; Horizon Bradco
— July 6: Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band; Scottish; Trustco Bank
— July 7: Scotia-Glenville Community Band; big band; 1st National Bank of Scotia
— July 9: All Paul Show; Paul McCartney Tribute; CDTA
— July 10: Contra Dancing Night; dancing; Dance Flurry Organization
— July 13: Sirsy; alternative rock; Glen Sanders Mansion
— July 16: Wylder; mostly Motown; Palmer Insurance/Glenville Rotary
— July 17: Brian Patneaude Quartet, jazz, Bellamy Construction
— July 20: Audiostars; party rock; Scotia Glenville Dental Center
— July 21: Scotia-Glenville Community Band; big band; 1st National Bank of Scotia
— July 23: Ernie Williams; blues; KeyBank
— July 24: The Puppet People; children’s show; AAA Northway
— July 27: Hair of the Dog; Irish; Marshall and Sterling
— July 30: Elvis (Bill McGrath) & 3 of a Kind Band; rock; Village Paint & Decorating
— July 31: Wister Quartet; classical; Stewart’s Shop
— Aug. 3: The Joey Thomas Band; big band; 1st National Bank of Scotia
— Aug. 4: Bopitude; jazz; Schenectady Musical Union
— Aug. 6: Emeralds of July; pop rock; Mohawk Auto Club
— Aug. 7: Maria Zemantauski & Alegria; classical/flamenco; Buhrmaster Energy Group
— Aug. 10: The Refrigerators; party rock; Country Wine and Spirits
— Aug. 13: Skeeter Creek; country; Mohawk Honda
— Aug. 14: Luster Kings; rockabilly; Frank & Sons
— Aug. 17: Sensemaya; Latin jazz/funky salsa; Scotia Glenville Dental Center
— Aug. 18-20: Our Own Productions-“Alter Boyz;” musical theater; Riverstone Manor, Scotia Cinema, Roy Matthews TV & Appliance
— Aug. 21: Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company; modern dance; Rowledge Insurance
— Aug. 24: Doc Spring’s Rehabilitated Dixieland; dixieland; Scotia Glenville Dental Center
— Aug. 27: Route Fifty 5; brass quintet; Mohawk Honda