YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s another big night on Friday in downtown Youngstown. Organizers say the parade and tree lighting will pack Central Square.
“Pair that with every other event that’s going on, whether it’s Holiday Flea, Oh Wow!, the Phantoms’ game, I think we’re going to be looking at over 5,000 people within this downtown area,” said Michael McGiffin, director of downtown events.
This year, it’s been nothing short of momentous for downtown Youngstown. Record-breaking events, like Y Live’s headliner Zac Brown Band in August, spiked foot traffic to local businesses.
“We keep projecting that to get better and better with more businesses coming downtown, the city really getting involved, I mean, they brought Zac Brown Band alone at YSU stadium and it was one of our best nights,” said Sophia Martini, manager at The Federal.
For Youngstown, the proof is in the profit. An estimated $700,000 in revenue came in in 2017 from special events and concerts in the downtown area.
“Centralizing all of this while elevating the standard has helped tremendously,” McGiffin said. “Frankly, just not saying no and saying, ‘Sure, let’s try it, let’s give that a shot,’ has made a world of difference.”
Downtown businesses hope the growth continues into the new year.
“It’s going to be an amazing weekend for us and we’re already looking forward to that,” Martini said. “If we keep booking those events like that and we get the city involved with us also, then it’s an amazing experience.”
The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Youngstown. Oh Wow! Children’s Museum and the DeYor Performing Arts Center will also be offering holiday deals and activities.
WKBN 27 First News Anchors Chelsea Spears and Stan Boney will be at the parade. If you can’t make it out in person, tune in to WKBN 27 First News starting at 5 p.m. for live reports.