News

PDA discontinues 1st Wednesdays

Spending next year creating new summer showcase for 2019

This summer marked the last year for 1st Wednesday Street Parties, with the Pleasanton Downtown Association announcing Monday the annual event series will be discontinued after 20 years.

Held on the first Wednesday of each month from mid-spring through summer, 1st Wednesdays sought to bring residents to downtown for an evening of live entertainment, vendor exhibits, food, shopping and other activities centered around a monthly theme.

But after years of success, the monthly series saw decreased attendance during the past few years and local residents and business owners began expressing a desire to see new and different types of events showcased downtown, according to PDA executive director Laura Olson.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and one we discussed for quite a long time," Olson told the Weekly.

"We know many people loved the tradition of 1st Wednesdays. But, ultimately, the event had run its course and lost its effectiveness for downtown Pleasanton," she added. "I believe our organization made the best decision possible given all the factors involved."

Among the other reasons the PDA Board of Directors decided to "retire" 1st Wednesdays, Olson also pointed to feedback from residents who said midweek events are often tough to attend because of busy personal or family schedules.

"We've worked very hard to make 1st Wednesdays a fun, family-friendly gathering for our community and for visitors throughout the Bay Area. We are proud of what we've achieved and thankful for the two decades of support," Olson said.

The PDA will not hold a summer showcase event in 2018 to replace the 1st Wednesdays, instead spending the next year on planning for the launch of a new, large-scale festival for summer 2019, Olson said. The PDA will still host Concerts in the Park on Friday nights from June to August, she noted.

"We have a general concept for what our new event will be, and it is taking into consideration the large amount of community feedback we always receive regarding special events," Olson said. "We aren't at a place where we are ready to share specific concepts but certainly will be excited to introduce this new event to Pleasanton and our surrounding communities when the time is right."

The future of the popular Pooch Parade -- previously held during August's 1st Wednesday Street Party -- is up in the air. Olson said PDA officials are working with parade organizers to find them a new home.

Discontinuing 1st Wednesdays provides the PDA the chance to have more flexibility in its event schedule, enhance its other showcase events and institute some other schedule changes, Olson said.

The Wine Stroll, previously held in the summer, will now move to May 19.

"We've heard from a lot of event participants that they would love to come to Wine Stroll, but that June and July are so busy with vacations and activities," Olson said. "We are hoping that May makes this event even more successful than it has been."

PDA officials are also hoping to capitalize on the popularity of last year's inaugural Forkful, a culinary-focused September event, by introducing a spin-off event called Spoonful in February.

Other events returning in 2018 are PDA mainstays such as the St. Patrick's and Halloween brew crawls, spring and fall Antique Faires, Easter and Halloween scavenger hunts for children, the holiday Spirit and Sweater Stroll, and Small Business Saturday and Holiday Open House in November.

Olson said anyone with feedback about the PDA event schedule changes for next year can contact her directly at director@pleasantondowntown.net.

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:16 am

Really sorry to see this go. Had hoped that more vendors would be at these events...I think low attendance could be due to a couple of things. 1) we can only stop at so many massage and insurance booths and 2) it became an excuse for way to young people to come and get drunk. Sad.


2 people like this
Posted by no name chosen
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

no name chosen is a registered user.

@K, how many purchases did you make from the vendors who came? None? They pay good money to be there just to have people stop by and purchase nothing on their way to getting drunk. A stupid event that has morphed into a drunkfest, well past time for it to go.


3 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm

@No Name...um are you picking a fight hahahahha! Not in the mood. Purchased plenty in the past 25 years, thanks.


4 people like this
Posted by Claudette McDermott
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Claudette McDermott is a registered user.

Sad to see it go. I enjoyed it (and did buy things when it wasn't so service oriented) but I have to say, it was obvious that the First Weds became an entertainment opportunity rather than a shopping event. I rarely saw anyone buying anything (services aren't that interesting).

These days it's hard to make enough to cover your costs, to make it worth while for Crafters and Artists. If for some reason you can create a "Commission Based" event, you'd get some amazing Local Artisians ~ There is a wealth of Talent here in Pleasanton, it would be amazing to see it shine.


1 person likes this
Posted by Claudette McDermott
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Claudette McDermott is a registered user.

Keep me in mind PDA, if you'd like help in creating a "Pleasanton's Best" Artisians & Crafters event, I've suggesting above, commission based. Wishing us all Happy Holidays and an Amazing and prosperous New Year 2018 ~


2 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 15, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Wondering if this event will turn up at the fairgrounds where they can charge for parking and admission, kind of like years ago when they allowed all the hot rods to park downtown for a nice car show then moved them to the fairgrounds, nearby cities don’t seem to have a problem with these types of events but our PDA is always looking for ways to move off of main st and to the fairgrounds. Just curious what’s the real reason, I went to all these events always spent money, and it was always crowded.


2 people like this
Posted by JeriAnn
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 17, 2017 at 11:35 pm

PDA,

Please find a home for the annual Guide Dogs for the Blind Pooch Parade fundraiser! My family has participated in this event for many many years and look forward to it every 1st Wednesday in August. When I saw this news, this was the first thing I thought about that was impacted. I am pretty sure Guide Dogs for the Blind said this was their number 1 fundraising event for them. Please work with them to keep this wonderful family friendly unique Pleasanton event going. It for a great cause and so much fun.

I would be willing to volunteer my time to help in order to work towards a solution to keep this event going. It is that important to me to keep it. Just let me know what I can do.

Best regards,

JeriAnn


1 person likes this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 20, 2017 at 10:58 pm

They should bring back The Good Times Parade!


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