WATERTOWN — Tom Gilmartin has sold his Italian ice and fudge at each of the eight previous downtown block parties on Public Square since they began three years ago.
And he was there again on Saturday.
“They’re a great crowd. It’s a good night to listen to music and enjoy vendors who are local and it helps the local economy,” he said.
With his business called Soldier Boy Italian ice, he usually does a brisk business at the block parties.
Did you attend one of Watertown's downtown block parties this year?
On a chilly night, several hundred people filled the north side of Public Square Saturday night to do just that.
Billed as the “Last Bash of the Summer,” it was similar to this summer’s first two block parties, but this one was not held on a Friday night.
Jennifer L. Burns brought her 7-year-old twins, Brynn and Braelynn and 8-year-old Grace to play in the bouncy house.
And she wanted to hear the band, Ransom, because she knows the acoustic guitar player.
“They’re really good,” she said, adding the band plays a mixture of country and rock music.
With the final one of the season in full swing, Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corp., which hosts the block parties, promised on Saturday night that they will return for a fourth year.
The block parties are a success, he said.
They bring excitement to downtown, they generate business for the shops and restaurants, and offer activities that would not exist without them, he said.
“It also gives people something to do,” he said.
Begun in 2017 by the local development corporation, the events were designed to draw more people downtown.
The beer taps were flowing at Boots Brewing Co., with about 50 people inside the Public Square microbrewery at one point during the event.
The beer lovers liked to hang outside to listen to the music for a while and then head inside to get a mug of stout and other offerings, co-owner Daniel Daugherty said.
“It definitely brings people in,” he said. “Our regulars like it, too.”
This summer’s first block party, held on Friday, June 28, celebrated the city’s relationship with Fort Drum. The other one was held on Friday, July 26.