It's been a long winter for many Main St. retailers, and now that the sun is out they are looking forward to a burst of business, and to the return of Third Friday.
Third Friday, the monthly community entertainment and business-boosting event, has been on hold for the winter. The future of the event remained uncertain during the hiatus because Cappa Crucy & Co., organizers of the event, stepped down at the end of last year citing a lack of funding for the program.
Tarrytown's board of trustees have been working to find a new organizer since Cappa Crucy & Co. announced their departure. Now, according to Village Administrator Michael Blau, they have found someone to take the reigns.
"The board has made a decision as to who will be running Third Friday," Blau said yesterday. "I just have to reach out to that person and make sure they are comfortable with it. Until they agree to it, I can't tell you."
Determined not to waste time, and the good weather, some local business owners are holding an impromptu "Pretend Third Friday" event today, March 19. It was an idea crafted by Angel Rafter, owner of A Nu Toy Store.
"It's March and it's beautiful, why wouldn't you do it?" Rafter said.
More than 12 businesses have signed on for the event, and many more are joining up at the last minute.
"I just kind of went up and down the street and asked if people wanted to pretend Third Friday was happening," she said. "We have music, crafts, and possibly a face-painter. Many of the stores are giving discounts and even some of the art galleries are participating."
Rafter is one member of a group that drafted a proposal to officially run Third Fridays. Rafter said she knew of at least one other group vying to run the event and said she hadn't heard any news from the village as to the status of her application.
"Honestly, I don't care who runs it, I don't even necessarily want it," she said. "I just want it to keep going because, no joke, it does help sales, and there's not one person I've met that didn't want Third Friday to go on."
JoAnne Murray, the co-president of the Chamber of Commerce, said it was a good idea that businesses on Main St. were rallying to support the event before the village officially kick-starts it next month.
"It really makes sense, even if it's low key, just to remind people it's still there until they get it off the ground," she said.
Started in September 2003, Third Friday is a unique program that is organized privately and supported partially by the local government through the Recreation Department. Businesses pay into a fund ($10 a month) to be represented at the event, while the village supplies support staff and a stipend for entertainment.
The official Third Friday will begin in April with its new organizer, Blau said. The village is planning on making the event robust with a shorter yearly run.
"We're talking eight months as opposed to 12 months," Blau said. "We're actually going to have an active eight month period beginning in April and going through November."
Third Friday will return officially on April 16. Today's Pretend Third Friday starts at 5 p.m.