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'It's refreshing': Summer Street on 3rd brings color to downtown Moses Lake

by SAM FLETCHER
Staff Writer | August 16, 2021 1:07 AM

“We’re moving from recovery to (resilience),” said Downtown Moses Lake Association (DMLA) Executive Director Lexi Smith of post-shutdown Moses Lake.

That means more places to hang out, more vibrancy and more events, like Summer Street on 3rd, she said.

The DMLA closed off Third Avenue on Saturday to motorists to make way for yoga with O2 Studio, storytime with the Moses Lake Public Library, live music, lawn games, outdoor dining and more.

Sue Torrence of Sue’s Gift Boutique at 212 W. Third Ave. joined many businesses along the strip, such as Stella & Me and Love & Lumber, in having weekend promotions and a “Sip & Shop.” Hers was 13% off storewide for Friday the 13th, extended into Summer Street. On Saturday, passersby could come in for free cookies and mimosas, too.

The added events have brought in some extra business, Torrence said.

“Mostly everybody’s just loved it, you know?” she said. “Something different, and it’s refreshing. Some people are just having orange juice, just being good. It’s all good.”

The seven-member Just Another Local Band, with a wide display of instruments, took to the Sinkiuse Square stage with sounds of R&B, funk, jazz, soul and pop, to name a few.

Battling poor air quality and triple-digit temperatures, the turnout wasn’t as good as it could have been, Smith said, but even still, it brought a boost to businesses downtown.

Because of this, Summer Street will likely return next year, she said, with even more events and activities and hopefully not so much smoke from distant wildfires.

“The businesses are doing a lot to bring people downtown,” she said, “and they are very encouraged and determined to do whatever they need to do.”

Years ago, most downtown businesses weren’t even open on weekends, said DMLA board member Caralyn Bess. It’s going to take a bit of a transition before people realize what all downtown offers, said Bess, who is also the Herald’s publisher.

“There’s just more and more happening,” she said. “I think people are now reinvesting in their community from an entrepreneurial aspect, and that’s just going to continue to flourish and really grow downtown.”

DMLA will return for more on Aug. 26 in Sinkiuse Square for the second Downtown Open Mic Night from 6-7 p.m.

It’s even bigger than the first, Smith said, with more diverse acts, too. Come for local bands, solo singers, a string group, poetry and more, she said.

The idea for open mics came from folks reaching out and addressing the need in the community, Smith said. They said there are lots of people in town who play music and write poetry and there are not a ton of outlets for that here.

It’s an easy show and great for downtown, Smith said.

“It’s a very relaxing and simple activity,” she said. “People can come from after work, get something, eat from a restaurant and go sit in Sinkiuse Square and get an experience of all sorts of different things.”

Not only did the idea fit right in with the DMLA vision but, according to the survey process for the upcoming Creative District designation, many Moses Lake residents have been in search of such events, she said.

“It all just kind of aligned perfectly and it was definitely something we were going to move forward with, and definitely something I enjoy doing,” she said.

All of these events are brand new ways to test the water and enhance the experience of downtown, said DMLA board member Rosenda Henley.

“It’s an experiment,” she said, “and it’s a good one.”

photo

Sam Fletcher/Columbia Basin Herald

Israel Estrada (left) plays cornhole with his brother, Samuel Estrada (right) at Summer Street on 3rd on Saturday.