Syracuse, NY – Food, drink and music will make a somewhat delayed return to Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse this summer, starting just after July 4.
Party in the Square will occupy the downtown festival space from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday from July 7 to September 29. Each week, different groups, as well as food trucks and a beer and wine tent, will be presented.
If this all sounds a bit like the old Party in the Plaza events held for decades in the nearby downtown federal building, that’s the idea.
Party in the Square bills itself as “a spiritual renewal of the popular Party in the Plaza, acting as a direct outlet for Syracusans to engage with the local community through food, drink and music,” according to its official site.
The idea for the new Party in the Square started with Mark DiGiorgio, whose full-time career is in the architectural sector but who has parallel concerts in the promotion of events. He had hoped to start it last summer.
“We were ready to rock and roll last year and then Covid hit,” he said.
This year, DiGiorgio was hoping to regroup and start it in early June, just after the annual Taste of Syracuse weekend. But road construction in and around Clinton Square forced the cancellation of Taste of Syracuse and other events scheduled until the end of June.
“They (the city) would not give us their green light until the work was finished and that put us in July,” DiGiorgio said. “But now we’re getting ready to start. “
The city’s parks department, which manages Clinton Square, is now working with other potential users of the space after construction ends in June, said Greg Loh, spokesperson for Mayor Ben Walsh.
There is no entrance fee for Party in the Square, and food and drink are available for purchase (the drink tent is cash only). DiGiorgio is still working out possible health protocols with the city.
As a tribute to the old Party in the Plaza, DiGiorgio is also planning a $ 2 happy hour every Wednesday, with 10-ounce drafts available for $ 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Anyone who remembers Party in the Plaza remembers the $ 2 bills,” he said.
For this year, DiGiorgio has scheduled 13 bands and 13 first parties, including renowned local artists such as the Blacklites, Str8on, Sponge and the Bomb, who will headlining the first four Wednesdays.
He’s still working on lining up the food vendors, which will likely be one or more local food trucks each week. Beer and wine provided by Onondaga Beverage will be sold in a tent. Tables will be available for meals.
Sponsors for Party in the Square include law firm Nave, which has offices in the city center, and I Heart Media, which operates Y94 and other outlets.
DiGiorgio hopes to continue Party in the Square for years to come, making it a part of the regular downtown scene as well as Party in the Plaza, which has been staged for 30 years by the group The Updowntowners. (There have been other attempts to recreate the party in the Plaza in recent years).
“It’s just a way to bring people together again to relax and have a good time,” he said.
Here is the full musical lineup for this year:
JULY 7: THE BLACKS. OPENER: TABLET THREE
JULY 14TH : STR8ON. OPENER: J&A DUO
JULY 21: SPONGE. OPENER: DAN WAGNER & ANTHONY SATURNO
JULY 28: THE BOMB. OPENER: BLUJUS SPANDARO DUO
4 AOT: THE BILLIONS. OPENER: KA’TET
11 AOT: WAGNER 3000. OPENER: BLUJUS SPANDARO DUO
18 AOT: DIRTROAD RUCKUS. OPENER: JOSH BREEN
25 AOT: JOE ANGEROSA AND YOUNG AMERICANS. OPENER: ACOUSTIC VAGABONDS
SEPTEMBER 1: BITCHED HALO. OPENER: PG DISCONNECTED
SEPTEMBER 8: VAGABONDS. OPENER: DAN WAGNER & ANTHONY SATURNO
SEPTEMBER 15: EDISUN. OPENER: CTÉ KOEN
SEPTEMBER 22: STROKE. OPENER: DUO DIANA JACOBS
SEPTEMBER 29: COUNTRY JUSTICE. OPENER: GARY ROBERTSON JR