So the Taste of Clarence is in the rearview mirror, but there’s plenty of summer left, and a new street festival in Harris Hill should be a part of your plans this weekend. The first Connecting Clarence Street Festival is set for 5-8 pm on Saturday August 12th, on Nottingham Terrace in Harris Hill.
This Street Festival will feature food, drink and music, but also something else that makes this worthy of your attendance – a look at the Clarence’s plans for the new Main Street. Harris Hill is one of three key Main Street hamlets which the Town sees as targets for future development.
There among Gianni Mazia’s, The Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Company and West Shore Brewing, visitors will also find illustrations of how the new Main Street will look and feel – a combination of smaller, mixed-use developments offering a blend of smaller shops and apartments and a redesigned street profile featuring bike lanes and walkable spaces designed to turn this hamlet into a vibrant destination.
The Festival’s first year may be modest in scope, but as it grows planners anticipate that it may find a home on Route 5 itself. For now, though, the festival is very comfortable in the friendly wooded confines of Nottingham Terrace, which begins opposite Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary R.C. Church and winds it’s way back into Harris Hill Gardens (though long time Clarence Residents will correctly remember it as Morlando Estates).
There, for a single day, the Festival will spring forth, with a pickle ball tournament, live music with David Ebersole, food trucks, and plenty of local Clarence businesses, including distillery Uncle Jumbo’s American Vodka, indoor cycling gym Rebel Ride, and more.
The Clarence Youth Bureau will be in on the action with their Kid Biz training sessions, and local artist Jeff Perdziak and tie dye experts Colorful Crafting will be among the artisans showing off their wares.
There will even be some hints of “tactical sub-urbanism” as cycling advocate Melany Arrison and a team of volunteers begin to show off a few of the changes planned for the Main Street streetscape.
All in all, this is shaping up to be a smart debut for the Connecting Clarence Street Festival and the Vision Main Street plan, and much of the credit goes to the Town of Clarence itself – including Supervisor Pat Casilio and the Town Board for giving the go-ahead, but also the collaboration of the Town’s Highway Department, Parks Department and Planning Department.
If it’s seems unlikely to you that the Town itself has taken a lead role in planning a fun, summertime event, you should take notice – the Town of Clarence has come to recognize that smart Main Street development is a key component of the Town’s future and quality of life – and they are set to codify this vision beginning with the formal adoption of the Vision Main Street Plan at tonight’s Town Board Meeting.
For Harris Hill, it’s a chance at a new identity.