Holiday weekend sparks even larger crowds at Downtown Alive

A server at Front Street Brewery takes an order during Downtown Alive on July 3 (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Alive has revived many businesses after a devastating hit to the local economy.

Ellie Craig, Marketing Manager for Front Street Brewery, says the initiative has been a lifeline for some of the businesses downtown.

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“This has truly helped us provide more jobs for our staff. It’s helped with much needed revenue during this time of shutdown that we just recently experienced,” Craig said. “So it really has been an incredible initiative and we’re very grateful to the Downtown Business Alliance, Cool Wilmington and the City of Wilmington.”

Businesses say they anticipate an even bigger crowd on the second weekend of the initiative because of the Fourth of July.

“We’re starting to see a waiting list just for outdoor dining,” Craig said. “Unfortunately we do not take reservations, but we always try to accommodate people as quickly as we can and having the additional seating is allowing us to do so.”

Just down the street from Front Street Brewery is Platypus and Gnome.

Matt Danylec, owner of the restaurant, says their calendar is filling up nicely going into the holiday weekend.

“We definitely have a pretty good amount of reservations but I also know that Wilmington is last minute town so we’re gonna get a lot of walk-ins,” Danylec said. “It still feels like there’s a pretty good amount of tourists even though there’s no Fourth of July festivities this weekend.”

He says the project has drawn lots of attention to downtown.

“There’s definitely a lot of people walking downtown and they see a little bit of extra something going on and it creates more of a festival atmosphere and a lot of people are really excited about it,” Danylec said.

Both business owners say they would like to see the project continue in the future.

“It took a pandemic for us to make this come to fruition, but now that people are seeing the added benefits to it, alfresco dining in Wilmington is a beautiful thing,” Craig said. “We’d like to see that continue in some capacity in years to come.”

“I know there’s a whole bunch of analytics that would need to be run for that, but on the short side, so far yeah. It could end up that I feel differently later on, but for one weekend so far it’s been great. I’d love to keep doing it if it stays like this,” Danylec said.

For now, Downtown Alive will continue through September 7 on the following schedule.

Thursdays & Fridays 6:30pm-10pm

Saturdays 10am-10pm

Sundays 10am-5pm