Downtown Schenectady will bustle Friday night with food, music and entertainment for Schenectady County’s 11th annual SummerNight, which will be capped off with a performance by Grammy-nominated band the Gin Blossoms.
Vendors and entertainment will line State Street in downtown Schenectady from 5 until 10 p.m. This year’s SummerNight will feature many of the same attractions as past years, with a few enhancements, said county spokesman Joe McQueen. In addition to the Gin Blossoms, local artists will perform throughout the evening, leading up to a fireworks show at the end of the night.
The family-based event is free, except for food and beverage options, which will be available for purchase.
WHEN: Friday, 5 to 10 p.m.
WHERE: State Street, downtown Schenectady
HOW MUCH: Free
MORE INFO: schenectadycounty.com
“This is for all the residents of Schenectady County, but at the same time we want people outside Schenectady to come in for a great night and see all we have to offer,” McQueen said.
The Gin Blossoms, a group that made its mark in the 1990s with hit songs like “Hey Jealousy,” “Found Out About You” and “Follow You Down,” represents a nationally known band performing at the event, McQueen said. Last year, former New York Yankee and musician Bernie Williams was the main act, which McQueen said helped elevate SummerNight beyond a regional event.
“This year is another step forward with the Gin Blossoms,” he said.
As part of an effort to highlight local dining, all of the food offered at the event will be from area vendors, McQueen said. Johnny’s restaurant will sell lobster mac n’ cheese, Mike’s Hot Dogs will offer traditional street fare and Jay Street establishments will have items available for purchase as well, he said.
In addition, two local breweries, Mad Jack and Wolf Hollow, are teaming up to create a SummerNight pale ale just for Friday’s event.
The Kids Corner, sponsored by MVP Health Care, will provide an expanded offering of activities this year, McQueen said. There will be a mini obstacle course, a giant video game and other games provided by Via Entertainment in Rotterdam, and Best Fitness will offer kids the opportunity to compete in activities for prizes. McQueen said the Kids Corner this year will be focused on bringing more options out onto the street.
Other entertainment options spread around State Street will include face painters and a rock-climbing wall. There will also be a sand sculpture, which will be based on Finding Dory, Captain America or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, depending on voting results. McQueen said the sand will be dropped off around 8 a.m., and the artist works throughout the day.
Musical performances begin at 5:15 p.m., and will take place on three different stages. The Via Entertainment Rising Star Stage will kick things off with a set from Kristina Lachaga, a pop singer in her early 20s. Lachaga is known as “The Girl with the Big Pink Heart” after being called up on stage at a Justin Bieber concert in 2010 while holding a big pink heart.
Talia Denis, a teenage singer-songwriter-pianist, and a native of the Capital Region, will perform on the Rising Star Stage at 6:45 p.m. She released a full-length album, titled “So Alive,” in 2014.
The Jazz on Jay Stage will feature sets from local acts The Chronicles and Derrick Horton and the Jay Street Band. The Chronicles go on at 5:30 p.m., and Derrick Horton and company are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The General Electric Main Stage will feature a performance from Moriah Formica, winner of the 2015 Schenectady County Battle of the Bands. Formica takes the stage at 5:30 p.m.
Before the headlining act gets underway at 8:30 p.m. on the main stage, there will be a celebrity cannoli eating contest, which McQueen said will include some county legislators and others from the community. Villa Italia will provide the cannolis for the second annual competition.
The Gin Blossoms will perform through the end of the event, which will conclude with fireworks.
“We literally start the planning probably a week after the last SummerNight is over,” McQueen said. He added that the Gin Blossoms were finalized as this year’s headliner around February.
SummerNight is presented by the Times Union, Saratoga Eagle and Rivers Casino and Resort. Parking for the event is free in downtown surface lots and garages, though those attending SummerNight are asked to park in the Broadway Parking Garage.
Most parking on State Street will be closed during the day of the event. In addition, the Clinton Street North parking lot will be closed all day on Friday, except for monthly permit holders. Downtown traffic will be completely reopened by 11:30 p.m. on Friday.
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