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Wednesday Night Live, outdoor movies, concerts keep downtown humming

New programs boost retail, restaurant, entertainment venues in Pleasanton

From downtown stores staying open late on Wednesday nights to free movies in Delucchi Park to Friday night Concerts in the Park, merchants with help from the city government are working vigorously to attract more people to go downtown.

Wednesday night saw the Dirty White Boys band playing during the evening at Tully's Plaza at Angela and Main streets with another band at the Red Coats restaurant and pub. Next Wednesday, Red Coats will sponsor a band again with Thriving Ink, Savvy Seconds and Little Valley Winery also working on booking bands.

Last night, several hundred gathered at Delucchi Park to watch "Kung Fu Panda," the first in a series of four movies the city's Park and Community Services Department is offering outdoors on selected Thursday evening.

Tonight, the Friday night concert series continues with the Rock Explosion band that plays, you guessed it, rock hits from bands such as AC/DC, Van Halen, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Aerosmith, Montrose, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston and more. The concerts, which start at 7 p.m., are sponsored by the Pleasanton Downtown Association, the city of Pleasanton, local merchants and the Pleasanton Weekly.

"Our goal is to create an environment where people can come downtown, enjoy great food, fun entertainment and stroll through the stores," said Melanie Sadek, owner of Murphy's Paw on Main Street and an organizer of the merchants' downtown group. "We want our residents and visitors to have something to do when they visit us in the evening. Nightlife in downtown is needed and this is a great first step in developing that kind of environment."

Sadek said the downtown merchants also are working with the Pleasanton Partnership in Education (PPIE) Foundation to coordinate a carnival-type fundraiser downtown, with proceeds will benefit PPIE's drive to raise money for public schools.

Called Wednesday Night Live, stores that are participating with special offers and discounts include Murphy's Paw, Gourmet Works, Sincerely Yours, Your Stage Toys, Little Valley Winery, Studio 7, Resurrection, Thriving Ink & Co., Savvy Seconds, Passionate Athlete, Towne Center Books, Storks Nest, All About Me & My Girls and Pans on Fire.

Downtown restaurants that are offered special values on Wednesday Night Live included Baci Bistro & Bar, Cafe Main, Casa Madrid, Mahalo, Blue Agave, Redcoats, Main Street Brewery and Pastas.

As for last night's outdoor movie that attracted a large crow despite cool temperatures, both City Manager Nelson Fialho and Susan Andrade-Wax, director of Parks and Community Services, who were there to launch the summer series as well as to enjoy the film, called the city's new outdoor program a resounding success.

The next movie on Thursday July 23 will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1929 classic "The Wizard of Oz." Then on Thursday, Aug. 4, Jack Black will be back with the ultimate Battle of the Bands movie, which is rated PG, "School of Rock." The 2009 free film series wraps up on Thursday, Aug. 20 with "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

The Friday night concerts, which start at 7 p.m., are sponsored by the Pleasanton Downtown Association, the city of Pleasanton, local merchants and the Pleasanton Weekly.

Another highlight of the Friday concerts is the drawing for prizes offered by downtown merchants and others. Drawing forms can be found in the Pleasanton Weekly each Friday and forms can also be printed from the electronic edition available online at www.PleasantonWeekly.com.

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