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 firstname.lastname@example.org.