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Bagg’s Square Gearing Up For HarvestFest

Joe Cosentino, flickr

Utica, NY (WIBX) – While the fall wind blows and Varick Street begins to settle down from its raucous summer fun, the city continues to let the good times roll. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Bagg’s Square East and West will come to life, as Utica Monday Nite presents HarvestFest.

Lynne Mishalanie is in charge of the celebration and the founder of Utica Monday Nite. She says Bagg’s Square has taken its share of hits in the past, but is primed to make a comeback.

“One of the reasons we decided to do this is because ever since we did the overpass in the 60s, many people think that Bagg’s Square is only over by Union Station and the Children’s Museum,” Mishalanie said. “When historically, it stretched all the way to Washington Street. So, we want to introduce people to Bagg’s Square East and West.”

That’s includes reintroducing them to the famed Water Street connection.

“People don’t know how to get from one side to the other without getting in the car and going across Broad Street,” Mishalanie said. “We are teaching them it’s a two minute walk from the east side to the west side on Water Street, which is something that, not having been downtown for some years, people wouldn’t realize.”

At the end of Railroad Street is Water Street, which loops around the Children’s museum and over to Genesee Street on the west side.

But, besides educating people about Utica’s side streets, Harvest Fest is a three-day celebration recognizing all of the great things Utica has to offer. Whether it be art, music, food or shopping, Mishalanie says Bagg’s Square has it all.

“The Indie Garage Sale will be joining us with Friday night shopping. When was the last time you could shop downtown on a Friday night? So, they’ll be open Friday night, all day Saturday and then Sunday from noon to five. Also on Saturday, the wonderful public market that has been going on so successfully during the summer will be bringing to a close on Saturday. They will be a part of this with some wonderful music and, of course, all the great produce we’ve been enjoying all summer.”

Both sides of Bagg’s Square will be bustling with activity. On the West Side, music fills the air with acts playing at the Utica Roasting Company, Gallery 106 and Gerber’s 1933 Tavern. Gallery 106 also features “Theatre in the Square” performances and local artwork.

Visitors can also stop by the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and see memorabilia from top athletes. And for history buffs, the Landmark Society is hosting a tour of Bagg’s Square, complete with history on the area.

The East Side is where art and shopping come together in harmony. Windows + Art brings pieces of all types together to enrich the city, while the Indie Garage Sale offers up handmade and homemade products from across the region.

Music also abounds from the East Side as Classified takes the stage on Friday night, with Sirsy and the Rusty Doves playing the crowd on Saturday. Mark Twain will make an appearance as well, as he prepares for an upcoming lecture at Mechanic’s Hall.

“If you’re coming for a full concert, you might want to think about bringing a lawn chair,” Mishalanie said. “It’s just  in this little historic park and there’s no seating provided, but if you enjoy the event like I do, you’ll be standing up and going from one thing to the other. But, if you want to listen to all of the music, bring a lawn chair.”

But, for Mishalanie, it’s all about the arts and bringing some love back to Downtown Utica.

“It’s always interesting when you’re doing the first year of something, but I think it’s really important to point out to people that the city is growing,” Mishalanie said. “There’s wonderful progress on Oneida Square, the things that go on on Varick Street are just tremendous fun, and I think that Bagg’s Square East and West is the next up and coming neighborhood.”

Photo from uticamondaynite.com

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