WEST ORANGE, NJ – Last held in 2016, the Downtown West Orange Alliance’s (DWOA) Downtown Thursdays event series officially kicked off last week in the Eagle Rock area of downtown.
Every Thursday through Aug. 29, West Orange residents are invited to explore the four sections of downtown: Eagle Rock, Tory Corner, St. Marks and The Valley, where outdoor activities and some free elements such as food and live music will entertain guests.
“The goal for us was to be able to highlight the businesses that are downtown,” said Megan Brill, executive director of the DWOA. “But because there’s so many of them, we divided it up into sections.”
The first “Downtown Thursday” was originally meant to be held on 3 Mississippi Avenue in the Quigley Municipal Parking lot in the Eagle Rock section of downtown, which includes Eagle Rock Ave, Harrison Ave, Main Street and Mississippi Ave.
Due to rain on Thursday, the kickoff festivities meant to be held at 3 Mississippi Avenue in the Quigley Municipal Parking lot in the Eagle Rock section of downtown—which includes Eagle Rock Avenue, Harrison Avenue, Main Street and Mississippi Avenue—activities were moved inside. But that did not stop people from coming out to enjoy activities that included a free concert by Mickey Barbaro & A Few Moore and to support local favorites like the Oak Barrel Pub, one of the businesses being featured on the Eagle Rock corridor.
Brill also said that in addition to providing a free element at every event, featured businesses will also be offering deals throughout the summer to people who pass by.
The Oak Barrel, for example, offered patrons 20 percent off their entire bill, and Ambrosia, West Orange’s newest fast-food restaurant, held its grand opening on Thursday.
“We want people to be downtown every Thursday for every part of it,” said Brill, who added that Downtown Thursday is simply meant to encourage people to come and shop downtown on a Thursday. “We want people to say: ‘oh, let me try that.’”
The next Downtown Thursday on July 18 will take place in Tory Corner, which includes Main Street and Washington Street, and will feature music from the Vienna Music School.
Brill hopes that in addition to wanting to meet the business owners in the Tory Corner section of downtown, people will also be enticed by offerings of free popcorn, snow cones and a free outdoor yoga class courtesy of The Yoga Ground by Washington Elementary School.
Plans are still being finalized for what’s to come to St. Marks and The Valley in upcoming weeks. Brill urges the public to follow the DWOA Facebook page and sign up for the DWOA newsletter for any updates.
According to Brill, each location will rotate all July until the first week of August, before starting over at Eagle Rock.
The dates and locations for Downtown Thursdays are as follows:
Eagle Rock – July 11 & August 8
Tory Corner – July 18 & August 15
St. Marks – July 25 & August 22
The Valley – August 1 & August 29