MT. VERNON — The Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation will launch its new street festival this Friday, known as the “Ninth Street Fair.”
The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday along Ninth Street downtown. It will feature music, food, and arts and crafts.
Friday’s festival is the first of three such events scheduled for this year. The other two are set to take place on June 13 and July 18.
Organizers are hopeful the Ninth Street Fair will become a popular new tradition in Mt. Vernon.
“We’re really excited about what we have coming,” said Cyndy Mitchell, executive director of the DMDC.
One of the highlights of Friday’s fair will be a performance by Centralia blues guitarist Dale Arning, who will play outside across from the east side of the courthouse.
Arning has a “strong following” and even makes his own guitars, Mitchell said.
Numerous food and art vendors will also be on hand for the festival, including “Jacks and Queens,” a vendor known for making ribs, pulled pork, hot dogs and fried macaroni and cheese, Mitchell said.
The Ninth Street Fair is essentially an expanded version of the DMDC’s First Fridays program, which was active in 2012 and 2013. The First Friday events were held once a month from May to October.
DMDC officials decided to revamp the program, but kept the street fair aspect intact.
“We reorganized it,” Mitchell said. “We decided we liked the idea of a street fair.”
Attendance for last year’s First Fridays program may have been impacted by the city’s Streetscape project along Ninth Street, Mitchell said. That should not be an issue this year, she said.
The goal of the Ninth Street Fair is to nurture Mt. Vernon’s arts community and bring more people downtown, Mitchell said.
“We really feel strongly about the city’s new logo — ‘Creativity Redefined,’” Mitchell said. “We have lots of talent in this community and we want to have another venue for them.”