Festival brings awareness for Gaines Street businesses
By Cedrell Mitchell
The idea was simple enough seven years ago: put on an event that would bring people to see how much Gaines Street and surrounding areas have to offer.
Construction around the area has been completed for some time now but businesses weren’t seeing the traffic they’d hoped for at this point. So a few of the business owners got together to revive the Gaines Street Festival this past Saturday.
Their effort saved an event that almost didn’t happen this year after founders Taylor Biro and Hank Saints decided to take a sabbatical.
The reason for starting the event seven years ago is the same today.
“We wanted to remind people that businesses are here and open,” said Saints, adding that they put on the event single-handedly without help from the city.
“We wanted to rejuvenate the sales and get people to come here and spend money locally.”
Taylor added: “This is a place where people can feel safe and be themselves.”
There was plenty for the hundreds who came out for the all-day festival that went late into the night. They had a choice of food vendors or they moved to the various genre of music belted out by more than 70 bands that performed.
“It is a really big economic day for everyone because it really shows what the street really is,” said Will Galotti, who volunteered to help with the event. “A lot of people talk about Austin as a music city but Tallahassee is a very musical city (as well) in order to have this going on all the time.”
More construction is planned for some parts of Gaines Street. Organizers of the event said they are concerned that will again create some hesitancy for shoppers.
They made their point by selling multi-colored festival shirt that displayed a dinosaur destroying the Residence Inn, located on the corner of Gaines and Wanish Way.
This year’s even almost didn’t happen due to personal changes in the founders life after the first six festivals, but business owners in the area decided to join in the revival of the event.
Not being in a lead role was a big change for Saints.
“I am used to being down at the information booth,” Saints said. “I was never able to see any of the bands (because) we were laboring the whole time. They did a beautiful job.”