What started with dinner, drinks and a dream on a winter night has turned into a much-anticipated festival aimed at attracting a new class of people to the city.
The Main Street Music & Art Festival kicks off at noon Saturday, just four months after organizers hatched the plan while musing about ways to improve their city.
"We were sitting around the table and saying, 'Well, how can Lewiston pull it off, and why can't we?' " said Rick Crogan, the festival's executive director.
Crogan and a slew of volunteers, community activists and concerned residents answered that call, securing more than 72 artists and 12 bands for the two-day event, which runs until 9 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Main Street between Niagara and Michigan avenues will be closed to traffic. Painters, sculptors, photographers, independent jewelers and other artisans will set up shop down the street from the bands, whose stage will be located at Main Street and Cleveland Avenue.
The festival will coincide with Niagara Homecoming, which features a benefit gala, career fair, an all-years Niagara Falls High School reunion and a concert. The event is aimed at drawing back those who have left the city.
The festival will feature Main Street storefronts -- vacant since the flight of many city residents to suburban communities years ago -- that will temporarily be filled with art galleries and a home store.