Riverhead’s brand new summer festival has a name, a bunch of bands and DJs and a schedule of dates.
Inspired by an event in Patchogue of a similar name, Riverhead’s Alive on 25 summer festival hopes to take downtown by storm this July and August with live music up and down Main Street and outdoor dining at tables set up in the street.
The Thursday evening street fairs are planned for July 14, July 28, August 11 and August 25, with a rain date of September 1. The fairs will take place every other Thursday, alternating with Patchogue’s Alive After 5 event.
“We want this to get people to believe in our downtown,” said Steven Shauger, vice president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District (BID) and general manager of the Hyatt hotel. “It’s one more step toward revitalization.”
The festival will shut down Main Street so that restaurants can set up outdoor dining areas in front of their businesses. Street and food vendors will also line the roadway. Local bands and DJs will be set up along Main Street in front of different restaurants, featuring a wide variety of music from top 40 to ska to rock bands.
In total, there will be about eight different locations on Main Street where performers will rotate throughout the festival. “There will be something for everyone,” Shauger said.
Though the street fair will showcase many local breweries and wineries, alcohol will be permitted only inside the roped-off dining and performance areas. “If you want to have a drink and listen to the music, that’s fine,” Shauger said. “But you’re not going to be able to just walk around the festival with an open container. The focus of the fair isn’t just on the drinking – it’s on the arts, the music, the food, the cars.”
Downtown’s classic car show, which has been held in the riverfront parking lot for several years, will move to McDermott Avenue off of Main Street for the festival. “The car show is a really really neat aspect that sets us apart from other street festivals,” Shauger said.
East End Arts is also arranging art exhibitions and performances during the festivals to showcase local talent.
Riverhead BID has been working closely with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce to plan the street fairs. Alive After Five has been a major force in Patchogue’s revitalization since the street fair was started 15 years ago, drawing tens of thousands of people to Patchogue every summer.
“Riverhead and Patchogue are sister communities in a lot of ways,” said David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, in a previous interview. “Our revivals seem to be based on similar things – craft beer, restaurants, theaters.”
Shauger said it’s been “enormously helpful” to work with the Patchogue chamber for the event. “They’ve been doing this for many, many years,” he said. “Their experience and their guidance has been very helpful to our committee.”
To keep the street fair safe, the BID is hiring a security company that will also work directly with local police, fire and ambulance departments. “The goal of this is to make it a safe and enjoyable event,” Shauger said.
Here’s a list of bands performing, with more to be added as the festival draws closer:
BOOMSHOT Sponsored by: Long Ireland Beer Company
BLUE MOON RISING Sponsored by: Vines & Hops
OOGEE WAWA Sponsored by: Sonoma Grill
BEER MONEY Sponsored by: Long Ireland Beer Company
NICH KERZNER BAND Sponsored by: Vines & Hops
GNARLY HEADZ Sponsored by: Long Ireland Beer Company
KERRY KEARNEY Sponsored by: Vines & Hops
BILLBOARD LIVE BAND Sponsored by: Seaside Grill
OOGEE WAWA Sponsored by: Long Ireland Beer Company
3DEE Sponsored by: Vines & Hops