By Tim Hunt
Downtown concerts in the park in the fall?Uploaded: Jul 8, 2021
Enjoying dinner downtown twice in the last week I can attest that restaurateurs are enjoying serving their customers again—inside and outside.
The weekend closures of Main Street have allowed the expansion of sidewalk and street dining and folks seem to enjoy strolling down the middle of the street. The closures will continue through Labor Day weekend.
Now that Gov. Newsom has lifted the restrictions as of June 15, you wonder when other “normal” activities will return. It was notable, as I wrote Tuesday, that San Francisco leaders were comfortable holding the traditional fireworks display with no crowd limits on the waterfront Sunday evening. That prompted the thought about when other events are going to return such as the Concerts in the Park on Friday nights in Pleasanton. They were cancelled through 2020 and have not resumed this summer.
I reached out to Zac Grant, the new executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association, and asked about any plans. He’s been on the job three months since Tiffany Cadrette took over as marketing director at the Alameda County Fair.
Grant noted that the Main Street closures have put traffic pressure on Firsts Street where the concerts are held at Wayside Park and doing Friday night concerts would have made that situation significantly more challenging. In addition, the events also would tax parking spaces given the crowds downtown has been attracting plus concert-goers.
So Grant is considering concerts this fall on Sunday afternoons. It’s still in the planning stages so he said check back in a few weeks for a definitive answer. If the association can pull off the fall events this year, it will provide a good data point about what to do in the future.
The Main Street closures have been popular with the restauranteurs and the public, but there have been some voices of dissent from other downtown business owners. I suspect that city leaders and the association will review options for 2022 based upon 2021 before announcing plans next year.
I agree with Grant’s observation that Friday night concerts, coupled with Main Street closures, may be too much for the area. When we dined downtown on a Friday evening, we ended up parking several blocks away in a neighborhood. My sense is the concert crowd is different than the downtown restaurant patrons so that would add lots more people and cars.