For those who want a less artsy reason to come downtown, there’s now passeggiata.
On the third Friday of every month, the Schenectady County Visitors Agency will host a strollabout, where visitors are encouraged through walking events to stroll downtown.
Passeggiata is an Italian word referring to the tradition of going for an after-dinner stroll.
The event will kick off from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday with a “welcome students” theme.
Strollers can buy $5 tickets to the Wing Walk, which gets them a free wing from many restaurants downtown. Even the Indian Taj Mahal Restaurant is getting in on the act, with a tandoori-style wing.
After visiting at least six restaurants, strollers can vote on their favorite wing.
DJs will run a two-hour student dance party on Jay Street with electronic dance music. The party begins at 7 p.m.
Proctors will also show “The Big Lebowski” in the GE Theater at 7 p.m., with discounts and free popcorn for students.
Many of the downtown stores and restaurants will also offer discounts for students.
Visitors Agency spokeswoman Leesa Perazzo said she hopes they will offer their own events to dovetail with each theme, just as they participate in Art Night each month.
“Art Night is certainly alive and well, but we wanted something not so pinpointed, that merchants could get involved in easier,” she said. “It was hard for people to only focus on art.”
So far, merchants are leaning toward art anyway.
Orenda Yoga & Healing Arts, at 609 Union St., will showcase art from local college students. Every month, the art will change to match the theme for that passeggiata.
At Zaria & Bella’s, 158 Jay St., artist Jonathan Hammer will create a painting throughout the evening while strollers watch.
The new Schenectady County Community College dorm, at 117 Washington Ave., will hold an open house with music provided by SCCC music students.
The most ambitious offering may be at the Moon & River Cafe, 118 S. Ferry St., where an entire musical will be performed in the small venue.
The show, “Trane Trax,” will highlight the life of jazz legend John Coltrane. It’s running Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and is free, but donations are requested.
Cafe owner Richard Genest is hoping passeggiata brings new people downtown.
“I like the poetry of it,” he said. “Just the very idea of people out strolling as a part of their life. Getting out of their cars and meeting people face to face. I think it’s a good name and a good concept.”
Next month’s theme will be international, with an Afro-beat dance party and possibly a Guyanese celebration.
Maps for each month’s event can be picked up at the Proctors box office. Proctors will also sell the Wing Walk tickets on Friday.
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