Bringing back Amsterdam's downtown has long been a source of discussion. It's not what it used to be, but then again, how many downtowns in small upstate New York cities are?
However, there's more on Main Street, Amsterdam, than most people realize. Several businesses are up and running in the blocks between Market and Church streets, and an event this Saturday aims to call attention to that.
Starting at 4 p.m., the city will host its third Winter Fest: Main Street Mixer. The downtown shops will be open late and will run all sorts of deals and specials. The windows will be decorated will holiday themes, Santa Claus will make an appearance, and the former United Way building will be home to an indoor vendor market. The event runs until 8 p.m.
While last year's mixer was not as well attended as organizers hoped, the first event was fairly successful. The city has also hosted two Spring Flings on Main Street, and both have been major successes.
Public agencies can only do so much to boost downtown areas, but it takes people going there to truly make that happen. The shops that have continued to stick it out in the center of the Rug City, and the new ones that have opened over the past few years, are worthy of the community's support.
Events like the mixer are a good way to showcase what already exists in downtown Amsterdam, and hopefully it will encourage more people to invest in that area. City officials are already in the process of altering the traffic patterns to make downtown more accessible, and agencies like the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency have refocused their efforts to revive Main Street.
It's also a chance for city residents to get together and simply enjoy the holiday season as a community. Too often, we hear complaints that there's nothing to do in Amsterdam. Well, the mixer is something to do, and there's no reason for people to skip it.
Activities like the mixers and Spring Flings are key components in reviving downtown Amsterdam. We encourage the community to head on down to Main Street on Saturday, show some support for local businesses and get a first-hand look at the work being done to make the city a better place to live.