I’ve been thinking a lot about events in DTR and in short, they once were the driving factor for getting people here. Now, the event scene has matured and we can look at other methods of getting people here.
Events were just a way to market and show you *can have fun downtown. ow so many people are having fun doing everyday stuff, the roller coaster is off and running. Complimentary events are still good and probably a good long term strategy to make people feel like their investment was in an area that offer more than other places. What that sweet spot is, of course, very debatable.
I don’t think that events will ever really go away, but I do think that they’ll play a different role among a more robust collection of experiences that shape downtown’s energy. With more residents, restaurants, bars, etc., than there used to be, there’s already a larger daily base of activity. Businesses downtown aren’t as reliant on large events as they used to be. Also, with many new residents in the core of the city, the impact of closing roads is more consequential than it used to be.
If I were “the city” or its agents, I’d gladly trade in the logistical nightmare or coordinating big events for a more sustained hustle and bustle that more residents, more retail and more activities provides. With more retail and experience venues on the near horizon, that is starting to take shape.
That said, I think that the city needs to do what it can to expand those experiences with targeted actions to establish venues like a multiscreen theater, upscale bowling, live music venues, destination retail, etc., that will build upon its growing residential and civic infrastructure.
This isn’t development related strictly speaking, but I think there is a relationship, because having events downtown helps make the area desirable which drives demand for more development.
Anyway, SPARKcon is this weekend. It is a fun free event celebrating creativity. My favorite part is the sidewalk art. Lots of activities, vendors, food trucks, etc as well. In the past, this event was on Fayetteville Street, but this year it is in the Warehouse District. I think the move worked well. The creative vibe feels like a natural fit for that part of downtown. I also know some people and businesses complain about Fayetteville being shut down so often, so this spreads things to another part of downtown, but keeps the urban feel.
It’s somewhat spread between both. A lot of the events will be at Tobacco Rd but a lot of stuff going on will be at CAM too. I heard that a lot of the restaurants in the warehouse district were open to the event vs having it on Fayetteville St like in the past.
May be so, that’s just what I heard from a buddy at Tobacco Rd Harley. Regardless, its back downtown in the new location for a reason. Whether it last there for the following years, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Why was it moved off of Fayetteville st? It was one of the first downtown Festivals. I know it was loud and plenty of my neighbors would schedule weekend vacations so they did not have to deal with it, but it otherwise filled out the september calendar
That’s what I’ve been hearing. The price has gone up to have it on Fayetteville St and Tobacco Rd isn’t paying. Having it somewhat split between CAM and Tobacco Rd was a bad idea though in my opinion. They should have just tried to have the whole thing down in the warehouse district. Hoping for next year. Otherwise at this rate, the event might be dead in a couple years.