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Main Vernon street closes for summer party plaza

Market, music, games and more fill 2900 block of 30th Avenue
Vernon’s downtown summer plaza will see the 2900 block of 30th Avenue shut down to motorized traffic from July to September, replaced with a pedestrian corridor, starting Thursday, July 6, 2023. (Wayne Emde photo)

The 2900 Plaza is returning to downtown Vernon tomorrow, July 6.

In collaboration with the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA), the 2900-block of 30th Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic and a pedestrian plaza will come to life with food and entertainment for the whole family.

As of today (July 5), the block is closed to vehicle traffic. It will reopen in early September.

City crews are now preparing the Plaza space with road sweeping, the relocation of concrete planters and a bike corral, and the installation of barricades, signage and bollards.

The 2900 Plaza will run from July 6 – Aug. 31. Events will run Tuesdays through Saturdays with live music every night at 6 p.m.

Keelan Murtagh, executive director of the DVA, said with 9,000 visitors to the plaza last year, the hope is the plaza will be bigger and better than ever this time around, adding the DVA is shooting for around 12,000 visitors.

“We’re just really happy to be able to bring this to Vernon and there’s a lot of free games and activities, so we’re trying to keep it at no cost for everybody so that way families or people who have struggled through the last couple years with the pandemic can still come out and enjoy a really nice space with their friends and get some entertainment, have some fun and just enjoy the beautiful downtown Vernon area that we have,” Murtagh told The Morning Star.

The plaza will kick off Thursday with the first Downtown Sounds event, featuring The Garcia Band, who will play from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“It’s all free so everybody’s welcome to come down,” Murtagh said.

During the plaza days, Tuesdays will start with kids story time at 10:30 a.m. and a solo musician at 6 p.m. Wednesdays will see the Vernon Square Dancing Group teaching people how to square dance at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays are reserved for Downtown Sounds where people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to take in the music of live party bands, as the picnic tables will fill up quickly.

Friday will see a couple of DJs take the stage at 6 p.m. And Saturdays will feature three live solo performances spread out throughout the day.

New this year is the 2900 Plaza Market, done in partnership with the Polson Artisan Night Market group. The market will take place in the plaza every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Throughout the day there will be lots of free games and activities, including giant Jenga, giant Connect 4, and bean bag toss. There will also be QR codes on picnic tables which people can scan to get instructions on how to play crib, or whatever game they choose.

“We’ve got a couple new (games) that people probably haven’t heard of,” added Murtagh.

Based on feedback from last year’s plaza, the DVA will be adding more shade for people to relax in during the summer heat. They’ve also switched the musical acts from noon hour to the evenings, which Murtagh said businesses identified as an improvement. The hope is to entice the evening or after-work crowd out to the musical events.

The DVA also worked with a few businesses to iron out a few logistical improvements from last year’s plaza, and “everybody seems pretty supportive of it and we’re full steam ahead,” Murtagh said.

READ MORE: Fundraisers sparked to aid victims of massive Vernon fire


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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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