It was a giant block party, and thousands of people came, flocking to Main Street yesterday evening for Riverhead’s first installment of “Alive On 25” — a summer street fair modeled after Patchogue’s popular “Alive After 5” — an evening of outdoor live music, dining, dancing and shopping.
The event, sponsored by the Town of Riverhead and the Riverhead Business Improvement District, lined Main Street with vendor booths, live bands, dancing and al fresco dining.
More than 5,000 people attended last night’s event, despite a threatening weather forecast yesterday afternoon. Organizers and downtown restaurateurs spent anxious hours watching live weather radar track the progress of a line of severe thunderstorms heading east across Long Island. The line of storms seemed to split in two as it approached the twin forks.
“It was like the parting of the Red Sea,” joked PeraBell Food Bar owner John Peragine outside his popular Main Street restaurant.
Peragine and his partner own PeraBell Food Bar in Patchogue, opened the Riverhead location last year, because they saw the potential for a “Patchogue-like” revival for the downtown business district. Before they even opened for business in Riverhead, Peragine said he wanted to see an event like “Alive After 5” come to Main Street.
The Riverhead BID Management Association embraced the idea and worked to put it together for 2016, securing the assistance of the organizers of Patchogue’s well-established annual festival.
“I always thought it was going to be great for Riverhead too,” Peragine said. “I see a lot of my customers from Patchogue here, too, which is nice.” He said he’s looking forward to seeing Riverhead’s festival grow.
The next “Alive on 25” event is set for July 28. The Thursday night series continues on Aug. 11 and Aug. 25. There’s a rain date of Sept. 1, if needed. The event begins at 5 and ends at 9:30 p.m.
“We’re very happy with the result — and the turnout, ” BID Management Association president Steve Shauger said last night.
The event went off without a hitch. There were no incidents or arrests related to the festival, according to Riverhead Town Police this morning.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl and Denise Civiletti