If you go
WHEN: Friday, 5-10 p.m.
WHERE: State Street and Jay Street in downtown Schenectady
Ten tons of beach sand is coming to State Street on Friday.
A 50-by-50-foot parking lot in front of Aperitivo will be turned into a beach for SummerNight, the annual county festival.
The beach is a new twist on the 9-year-old festival, which usually includes just one ton of sand for a massive sand sculpture. This time, there will be much more sand for a kids’ beach, where YMCA workers will run beach games as if they were camp counselors, county spokesman Joseph McQueen said.
The Puppet People have even changed their show to accommodate the theme.
“They want a summer beach show, so we’re doing ‘Pirate of Brook Island,’ ” said owner Mark Cerrigan. “This takes place on a tropical beach. There’s palm trees and pirates.”
He started Puppet People to bring shows to children.
“We do it for the love of puppets and to make sure children experience performance,” he said. “Many kids don’t get to go to shows; parents don’t take them.”
But an outdoor event, catering to children, tends to assuage parents’ worries about fidgeting and loud whispers.
“We always get a good crowd,” Cerrigan said.
Nearby, the county is adding a teen beach stage. Local talent will perform there, including 13-year-old Talia Denis and The #2 Band, made up of musicians ages 12 to 14.
Various agencies that often run booths during the festival have been asked to provide boardwalk games similar to the glittery games of a carnival midway. There will also be the traditional sand sculptor, face painters, balloon artists and food vendors.
But even the vendors will be a little different; only three “outside” vendors have been invited, McQueen said. The rest will be downtown businesses.
“Many businesses will come out front,” he said.
That means food on the street will be provided by Bombers Burito Bar, Nico’s Rooftop Tavern, Villa Italia, Johnny’s, Perecca’s and many other local restaurants.
“When we started SummerNight, there wasn’t much downtown, so we had to bring everything in,” McQueen said, while this year, the county had to invite only a few vendors for traditional “festival food.”
For adults, there will be two stages — one on State Street and one on Jay Street. State Street will have the main music performances, while Jay Street will be organized as a “more chill atmosphere” with jazz and other music, McQueen said.
As usual, the festival will end with fireworks.