Thursday, August 21, 2008

Larkfest Turns Corner: Street festival includes Central Avenue

This year's Larkfest 2008, the popular one-day festival that takes place on Lark Street in Center Square, will be expanded this year to include a section of Central and Washington Avenues.

The Central BID and the Lark BID have partnered together to add the Townsend Park triangle to the outdoor festival, which will bring increased exposure and opportunities to Central Avenue businesses.

"It's something we've thought about for a while," said Anthony Capece, Executive Director for the Central BID. "The CBID is always looking for ways to improve Townsend Park to the benefit of everyone in that area", he said. "The BID met with the Lark Street BID leadership about expanding Larkfest, and they liked the idea", he said. "We are gald to help play a part of their very succesful event". "We (Lark & Central BID) enjoy a great relationship and certainly have shared interests in the improvement of both blocks.

"It was a way to get businesses, who really are a part of this neighborhood, involved," said Mary Spinelli, Director of Operations for the Lark BID.

The annual festival is summer's last hurrah, with live music and food vendors lining the sidewalks and crowds rocking the street. It is one of the largest in the Northeast, and welcomes between 60,000-80,000 visitors annually.

The Central BID is encouraging Central Avenue businesses to participate in the event, and trying to guide them on how to take advantage of the event's heavy foot traffic, Capece said.

"I'm really thrilled to have it come around the corner and up the block," said Susan Taylor, Manager of the Great Finds store at 250 Washington, which will be open for the festival. "It's a nod toward being part of the community."

Larkfest offers a number of different entertainments for visitors. There's a family zone on Hudson Street that includes activities for the kids, a hometown stage which focuses exclusively on local offerings including Knotworking, Christo Lewis, and Jazzhands as well as local fashion show, Discard Avant Garb. Radio station powerhouse WEQX sponsors acts on the two main stages including Tom Morello "The Nightwatchman," Eric Hutchinson, and the Sense Offenders.

This year, because of the expansion the event will add a fifth stage in Townsend Park, which should bring visitors around the corner to Central Avenue. The new stage will feature fantastic feats by Cirque de la Nocturne, and more local music.

"The more we can bring people together, the more we can improve the city, and not just the individual districts," said Spinelli.

Larkfest will take place along Lark Street, Central Avenue and Washington Avenue on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10am-5:30pm.