Just as a theater doesn’t come to life unless it has a show, a neighborhood downtown needs some fun, jazzy events to create some ongoing vibrancy, as well as economic growth.
So, since there isn’t a single resource that I know of listing such events, especially ones with an edge, here’s a start:
Food: Taste of ‘Insert Neighborhood Here’ events let people peruse a variety of booths representing local restaurants. The Shaw neighborhood in DC has an Eat Out For Your Neighborhood, with 10% of revenues goes to supporting the Washington DC. Then there’s the venerable farmers market.
Music: One of the best is AthFest in Athens, GA. Jupiter Jam in Berkeley has jazz and blues bands, food booths, a beer garden, and prize drawings, attracting 20,000 in 1996.
Art: Many cities have a once a month Friday gallery showing, with the Chicago Arts District event involving over 160 venues! There are also book festivals and independent film festivals. A whole book can be written on arts festivals.
Shopping: The Crave parties are one-night women-oriented shopping parties, while MidCity, DC has the Dog Days Sidewalk Sale with a weekend of merchants offering their wares on… the sidewalk, and nearby U Street has a monthly shopper social.
Heritage: Corning, Iowa’s Le Festival de L’Heritage Francais honors the town’s founding by French freethinkers, featuring French-inspired music, food, dance and crafts. Many cities celebrate their ethnic heritage (ie Irish, Latino, Chinese) or history (ie wars, inventors, writers.)
Local Industry: There’s the Go Nuts! Okmulgee Pecan Festival, the Texas Natural Festival Weekend in San Marcos celebrating local products and culture, and Watsonville CA’s Strawberry Dessert Festival, home spring improvement events, wine festivals…
The Seasons in Art: Port Huron MI hosts ‘IceFest’ with 30 professional carvers creating works of art downtown attracting 20,000 people, while Salisbury NC’s Downtown Beach Blast features sand castles.
Any favorites to add from your community or ones you’ve attended? Please comment below!