One sure sign summer is on the way is Saranac Thursday, held each week in the F.X. Matt Brewery parking lot on Court Street in Utica.
A community fixture the last 14 years, the event attracts crowds of 1,500 to 2,000 to the brewery’s outdoor beer garden weekly, as well as to the bars on nearby Varick Street.
Looking to establish a social event the village can call its own, the Herkimer board of trustees Monday approved a request from Belly Up Pub owner Amy Mosher to set up an outdoor bar and stage on West Albany Street on Saturday nights throughout the summer.
The request, which was approved pending Mosher receiving approval from the state Liquor Authority and village Attorney Nicholas Macri’s review of Mosher’s insurance coverage, would create an event similar to Saranac Thursday as a different band would be featured each Saturday night. The bands would perform from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“It’s an idea to bring people to Herkimer,” said Mosher. “It would be a fun night out.”
“It would draw the community together,” said Mayor Mark Ainsworth. “It’s an opportunity to promote Herkimer and what the village has to offer.”
Mosher said the unnamed event would likely begin in June and continue through September. She added the bar would provide security inside the fenced off area on West Albany Street and would be responsible for cleaning up after the event ends at 2 a.m.
“Is this something that will happen every Saturday? I don’t know, because I don’t know if I will be able to find a band to play every week. I figured I should dream big, because I can always scale back if necessary,” said Mosher.
“Also, if there start to be complaints or problems, I’d be open to having the music start and end earlier. I’m willing to work with the village to make this a success,” she added.
Police Chief Joseph Malone said his department would work with Mosher. “She knows if she starts to have problems there we will show up,” he said. “An event like this could be good for the village. If the safety and security in place, there’s no reason it can’t work.”
Trustee Harold Stoffolano abstained from voting on the request, as he said he would be in favor of having the event once or twice before committing to 10 or 12 weeks.
“With the traffic on state Route 5 and the families on the other side of the street, I have concerns,” he said. “There could be complaints or problems.”
“It’s a great idea,” said Trustee Katherine Nichols. “Anything that promotes downtown is good for the village. I hope the community comes out and supports it.”
Page 2 of 2 - The 2013 Saranac season will kick-off on May 23 and run through Sept. 5. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m., with music from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is $5, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area.