Concerts, food trucks, and special events all are planned for this summer. Ashley Brown
Feet on the Street is about to turn up the heat on your summer.
For anyone not familiar, Feet on the Street is a community rally cry to draw visitors to the downtown and West Side riverfront areas to dine, imbibe, browse, and just hang out.
Decorated concrete blocks mark one section of Feet on the Street district in Downtown Bay City.It started in 2020 to help local restaurant and store owners counter COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of patrons allowed inside businesses. Outdoor patios soon cropped up on both sides of the Saginaw River. Residents and visitors loved it.
Visitors enjoy food and beverages at outdoor tables in Bay City's East Side business district.And this year, with more time to plan, will be better yet, says Andrew Heppner, who owns Populace Coffee, 810 Saginaw St., with his wife, Justice.
Rounding out the roster this year are family activities such as magic shows and balloon artists, a pet adoption event, a long lineup of live music, and wellness classes such as yoga and meditation. Fire pits, more seating outside of restaurant areas, and additional greenery will enhance the welcoming vibe.
Selfie stations line the street near MI Table.
The official launch date is Sat., May 29.
And Heppner is ready to go.
“The hope is that it will keep growing” year after year, Heppner says.
“Last year the idea was to invite people to an outdoor setting where they could feel safe (while social distancing), and give the restaurant owners hope,” Heppner says. “We were happy every single day people were at our shops.
“I’ve noticed (since then) … there are many more positively focused groups and conversations happening now, it’s like ‘How do we improve it and make things better?' Everyone involved has a sense of community," Heppner says.
“One of our biggest concerns, and for many other families, was that downtown is a great space but lacked things for parents bringing children in tow,” says Justis Heppner.
To encourage families to come downtown, Heppner is scheduling balloon artists, magicians, music for little ones, face painting, stilt performers and more. “We are having QR codes made that will be scattered throughout the street closures for people to scan and check out the events and dates,” she says.
The seating areas are as diverse as the businesses that created them.Been downtown lately? Then you’ve likely noticed that streets are closing off as Feet on the Street gets rolling.
Expect closures on the East Side at:
• Center Avenue between Saginaw Street and Washington Avenue
• Saginaw Street between 5th Street and Center Avenue
• 3rd Street between North Water Street and Saginaw Street
• Adams Street from Center Avenue north to just beyond City Market
An East Side map is available here.
And on the West Side:
• Linn Street between East Vermont Street and East Midland Street
• 500 block of East Midland Street between Catherine Street and Henry Street
• 600 block of East Midland Street between Henry Street and Linn Street
A West Side map is available here.
Patrons can also can step inside area restaurants.Eats on the Street
Also new this year are food trucks. Rounding them up is the job of Marjo Jaroch, Community Manager of City Office. She’s called her part of the equation Eats on the Street.
Connecting with folks who operate food trucks can be a bit tricky, Jaroch says. She relies on Facebook and Google leads “and asked a lot of foodie friends” in order to line up a nice variety of food fare.
“Eats on the Street is designed to complement the current restaurants downtown, not compete with them,” Jaroch says. “There will be a good combination of savory and sweet trucks. We hope to always have at least one drink option, one sweet option, and one meal truck present.”
The trucks will set up in Wenonah Park on the first Thursday of each month through the summer. If things go well, Eats on the Street could expand to every Thursday, Jaroch says.
Food trucks are expected to be on site from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Adding Eats on the Streets is another way to build on the momentum of 2020.
“Being downtown became a destination (last year),” Jaroch says. “People could see patrons of a restaurant or bar instead of them being behind closed doors, and it reminded us that we are part of a community. People came downtown just to stroll around and people watch.”
Tom Carter and Barbara Engelhardt-Carter live in Downtown Bay City. She’s the owner of a Farm Bureau Insurance agency at 903 Saginaw St.“It is amazing how many people you might run into, but also how many faces are new to the city.”
Games, grills, and canopies keep diners comfortable and entertained during Feet on the Street.West Side businesses planning concerts and cook-offs
“We love to sit outside and take in the architecture of the 1800-1900s buildings,” she says. “There are so many features that you just can’t observe while walking or driving down the street. Last year we dined out 10 to 12 times, for lunch or dinner. There are so many options, including the West Side, which we also enjoyed.”
Feet on the Street, she says, has changed the vibe of the city.
“You hear music from different venues, you can continue walking the River Walk after you have finished dining. We have even walked over to Uptown and grabbed an ice cream cone.
East Side and West Side alike, patios are being set up in anticipation of a busy summer, says Jay Samborn, owner of Jay Samborn Entertainment Co. and a lead organizer of the West Side’s Feet on the Street activities.
“We had 40 (music) shows last summer in Midland Street and we expect that to be higher this year,” Samborn says. “My goal is to be at 100 shows or more this summer.”
Memorial Day weekend concerts include a rock ‘n’ roll show inside the Westown on May 27. Rock concerts continue with a performance by Peacemaker in the street on May 28, and Daze of Glory, also in the street, on May 29.
Concerts and family festivals are on the agenda for Bay City's historic Midland Street Business District in the next few months.West Side entertainment generally runs from 6:30 to 11 p.m., and includes a mix of classic rock, Top 40, ‘80s tribute bands and country shows, Samborn says. On Sundays, Samborn looks to book a polka band or two for a change of pace.
In addition to live music, Samborn and fellow planners are organizing family events, a chili cook-off, and a rib fest. Details are still evolving but event updates and menus will be available at www.westbaycity.com.
Keeping local businesses busy during this time truly is a three-part effort by patrons, business owners and government officials, Samborn says.
“A lot of this is happening because of the cooperation with the city,” Samborn emphasizes. “The city is a very key part of making this work for us.”
For more information about Feet on the Street and summer events around Bay City, look for updates on:
Bright yellow markers prevent vehicles from traveling on several streets, leaving them open for outdoor summer events.Here’s a roundup of some of the events scheduled so far:
In 2020, the Feet on the Street program was created to help restaurants coping with capacity restrictions due to COVID-19.These events are are scheduled in the wellness area on Saginaw Street in June:
- June 5 - Ashtanga Yoga, 8 a.m.
- June 6 - Slow Flow Yoga, 10 a.m.
- June 12- Belly Fit Core and More, 10 a.m.
- June 13 - Cardio Drumming/Z-Box, 10 a.m.
- June 19 - Cardio Drumming/Z-Box, 10 a.m.
- June 20 - Cardio Drumming/Z-Box, 10 a.m.
- June 27 - CrossFit Fundamentals, 10 a.m.
Businesses built decks and added decorations to attract visitors to the outdoor seating areas.
Live music and entertainment for people over 21 in June include:
- June 4 - It’s Just Tim | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 5 - Andy Braun | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 10 - Party on the Patio with Melissa May & Brian Coonan | DoubleTree Riverfront Grille | 7-9 p.m.
- June 10 and 11 – Late Nite Catechism “Till Death Do Us Part” | State Theatre | 7 p.m. (Reserved seating only. Grab your tickets for $27 at www.statetheatrebaycity.com)
- June 11 - Andy & Dave Show | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 12 - Tana Michaels | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 17 - Party on the Patio with Jim McKeith | DoubleTree Riverfront Grille | 7-9 p.m.
- June 18 - Dennis Pilaske | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 19 - Tod Walraven | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 24 - Party on the Patio with Jeff Yantz | DoubleTree Riverfront Grille | 7-9 p.m.
- June 25 - Andy & Dave Show | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.
- June 26 - It’s Just Tim | Saginaw Street | 6-9 p.m.