YOUNGSTOWN – If it’s the last day of school at Lewiston-Porter, then it’s got to be time for the popular “Beginning of Summer Street Dance” in Youngstown.
Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Thursday and take over Main Street, which is closed from Lockport to Hinman streets.
“Everyone looks forward to this every year,” said Cheryl Butera, president of the Youngstown Business and Professional Association. The association sponsors the event in cooperation with the Village of Youngstown.
“It’s a real celebration of the community and kicks off the summer season – that’s what makes it special,” added her husband, Mark Butera, association secretary.
Carl Motyka and his band will return, having been a part of the event since it began six years ago.
“It just keeps getting bigger and better,” said Cheryl Butera. “We had around 1,500 people last year. It’s nostalgic and it’s just good, clean, wholesome fun.”
A vintage car show – which made its debut last year – will return, on the corner of Main and Hinman streets.
“People really liked that,” she said. “We’re looking for cars generally older than 1980. Now, with the bounce house at Main and Lockport streets, and the car show at Main and Hinman, we’ve extended the dance and opened it up to more adults.”
Cheryl Butera also noted that for the past five years, the 50/50 raffle split has benefited the Youngstown Fire Company, which enabled it to purchase a new ambulance. This year, the raffle will benefit the Youngstown Lions Club.
“This is a big volunteer event,” added Mark Butera. “We welcome all local merchants and association members to set up a table. The only rule is that it’s limited to our community, but there’s no fee or entry form.”
“Food Alley,” as it’s become known, for example, allows local eateries to showcase and sell their specialties.
Anchor Spirits provides free beach balls to the kids and the Youngstown Lions Club supplies free popcorn. In addition, pony rides are offered for a small fee, and free face-painting is available. In the event of rain, the festivities will move to the Red Brick gym.
Both Buteras remarked on the cooperative nature of the village government, area businesses and organizations in embarking on a number of endeavors, like the street dance, to enhance the community.
The association was recently awarded a $3,000 William G. Mayne Business and Community Enhancement Program grant through the Niagara County Legislature.
“The village helps support us, but we’re always looking for more funding for things like printing our ‘Welcome to Youngstown’ brochure and plantings around the village,” said Mark Butera. “The whole intent of this grant is to use it to enhance the village. Last year, we installed new ‘Welcome to Youngstown’ signs.
“This year, along with helping pay to print the brochures, we’d like to use the grant to refurbish some sign posts and refurbish our French and Indian War-themed fire hydrants,” Mark Butera added. “And, if we have enough money, we’d like to add a couple of more visitors’ benches.”
For more information on the association, visit: http://www.youngstownnewyork.com.