Riverhead has long been compared to Patchogue in the eyes of many, heralded as the next area in Suffolk to blossom into a fully revitalized and vibrant downtown.
Well, keep the comparisons coming.
The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association is considering borrowing an idea from Patchogue Village’s popular “Alive After Five” events and doing something similar in downtown Riverhead.
Alive After Five, which Patchogue has been doing for 14 years, is a free summer street fair with six stages of live music and entertainment, more than 90 craft & retail vendors, 11 food trucks, children’s activities and amusements, and a Chinese auction, among other things, according to the website of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, which organizes it.
It’s held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. two times per month in July and August, and a section of Main Street is closed to traffic where the event is held.
BIDMA member John Mantzopolous said the idea was suggested to him by John Peragine, who is the co-owner of PeraBell Food Bar East in Riverhead, as well as the owner of the PeraBell restaurant in Patchogue.
“The breweries bring their beers out, the restaurants bring their tables out, anybody and everybody that’s in the food and hospitality industry, they bring their tables out to the street,” Mr. Mantzopolous said.
“I think we should direct our money toward something like that, which is a continuing thing,” said BIDMA president Ray Pickersgill, who said Riverhead could also shut down a portion of downtown Main Street for the event.
“The Fourth of July was phenomenal,” he said, referring to the BIDMA’s recent “Fourth of July” fireworks show and Brady Rymer concert downtown on July 3. “Everybody that had a restaurant made money on the fourth of July.”
“If you do it smart, you can make it bigger than Patchouge’s because our (downtown) strip is bigger than Patchogue’s,” said Mr. Mantzopolous, who owns Mazi (formerly Athens Grill) on East Main Street.
BIDMA member Bill Allan said that by having multiple bands playing on different stages, it spreads the audience around town.
The BIDMA created a three-person committee comprised of Mr. Mantzopolous, Steve Shauger and Dee Muma to look into the possibility of creating an event similar to “Alive After Five” for downtown Riverhead.
CAPTION: Riverhead BID officials are looking into staging an event like Patchogue’s popular “Alive After Five” series downtown. (Photo courtesy Michael White/GreaterPatchogue.com)