Resident’s are still stunned, as WaterFire caught Sharon by storm Saturday night with an estimated 35,000 people filling the streets of downtown for the inaugural ceremony.
“It’s a small town and it was a heroic project for them to take on and they did it with such style and engagement,” said WaterFire creator Barnaby Evans. “And just everyone coming out for it was just beautiful to see.”
“Never, never in my wildest dreams did I think that something like this could have happened in downtown Sharon. We have worked so hard to try and revitalize downtown Sharon,” added Laura Ackley, General Manager of Donna’s Diner in Sharon.
To put it in perspective, a normal Saturday for the diner is severing about 150 people. WaterFire Saturday’s crowd; well, just slightly more.
“We served over 700 people yesterday in my tiny little 14 table diner. It was spectacular, it was overwhelming. We had people literally lining out into the streets to get a table it was a really amazing time,” said Ackley.
Although the event was focused around the river, it was not just the businesses along the Shenango River that saw success.
“It did not just affect one tiny part of the town or one block or one company, it helped the entire city. There were droves of people in all the resturants, droves of people in all the stores, so it helped the local economy,” said Ackley.
There was still work to be done after the event Saturday night on the Shenango River. On Sunday, volunteers went up and down the streets in downtown Sharon to clean up the aftermath of a successful night.
“You know it takes volunteers it takes a lot of people for this to continue to happen. There is always the morning after, the good time is during the night and the following day you have to roll up your sleves a little bit,” said volunteer Wade Gilliland.
Evans noted that plans are already in the works for the next event coming up in September.