Street fair marks rebounding of business district
Business owners, community members, vendors and borough officials gathered Friday on South Main Street in Athens for a street fair to highlight the rebuilding business district.
Members of the Athens Business Association wanted to hold the fair to show "the strength of the businesses and community," said Deanna Barrett, president of the ABA and owner of Urban Connection Salon. Barrett said 35 of the 41 Athens businesses affected by the flood have rebuilt and returned, or are in the process of renovating their flooded storefronts.
Five new businesses will soon join their ranks, she said. One, Fatman Comics and Games, opened Friday in the former location of North Jewelers, which moved up the street following the flood. Employees of the store showed off the repaired building Friday and handed out free cookies.
An Italian restaurant will open in the coming months, Barrett said, and Fitness With Serena, formerly located on Desmond Street in Sayre, plans to relocate to a new space on South Main Street shortly.
Businesses gave tours of their buildings Friday and about 30 vendors set up on Main Street. Barrett said the ABA worked closely with borough officials and police chief Chris Hutchinson to close the street between Susquehanna and Chestnut streets during the two-day festival.
For children, the festival offered a bounce house and a sand art station. Friday night brought karaoke competitions for children and adults.
The Athens American Legion held a chicken barbecue Friday, and Boy Scout Troop 99 will roast the birds Saturday, Barrett said.
A pet parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Barrett said; those interested in participating should meet at the ProCare Physical Therapy building on Walnut Street. Saturday will also bring Zumba courtesy of Fitness With Serena, a juggler, and two bands performing in Teaoga Square. Boots will perform at 11 a.m., and Mutts Road will play at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, the Sayre Theatre will host a video presentation and speakers highlighting the rebuilding the area has accomplished over the past year, said theater manager Margie Ross. The presentation is free to the public.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.