By Cheryl Irish-Butera – president; Dotty Riordan – vice-president; Steve Zastrow – treasurer; Mark Butera – secretary; Tim Adamson – Town of Porter liaison; and YBPA board of directors members Catherine Stella, Melissa Kudel, Quain Weber, Stephanie Cattarin, Stephen Kennedy
After 15 months of isolation due to the pandemic, miraculously the Youngstown Business & Professional Association was able to hold our 11th annual “Here Comes Summer Street Dance & Car Cruise.” It was held on June 17 (having been rescheduled from 2020).
Were people ever ready to get out and dance in the street? The amazing Thurman Brother’s Band performed from 6-10 p.m. and the dancers never stopped dancing.
Even though the pony rides and bounce house were canceled due to COVID-19 guidance, our YBPA board and staff members created a “Children’s Corner” in its place. There were hula-hoops, beach balls, chalk walk, beach shells, even two baby goats providing a mini “petting zoo,” and yoga for kids provided by Brenda Zechmeister. The kids loved it! We thank Melissa Kudel and Jodee Riordan and their staff volunteers for putting together this fun event in less than a couple of weeks.
A special shout-out to the mayor and village trustees for giving the approval for the dance to take place. And as well, we so appreciated the help of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. and the Youngstown Chief of Police H. James Suitor for securing the streets with both fire trucks and police cars. Even Sheriff Michael Filicetti brought his classic police car and he participated in our annual car cruise.
Speaking of the car cruise, Albert McFadyen, Dennis Ketch and Tim Adamson (our car cruise guides) got the word out big time! We had at least 50 cars that night – most ever! On the street, we had Rebecca Poletti’s Mangia Cakes ice cream sandwiches; the Youngstown Lions gave away free popcorn; The Historical Society held a raffle of beautiful baskets; and the Old Fort Niagara Post Theater project had an information table.
New to Youngstown, the Hill of Beans Coffee Stop was open for business, sharing its glamorous porch for everyone who stopped by. There was the Lewiston Porter Youth Football vendor table with Katie Hoyle; the Youngstown Free Library sold freezer pops and bottled water; Patrick Harden, owner of the new Hardened Tattoo Parlor, was available for meeting our visitors; newly opened Sister & Brother Clothing Apparel was on the street showing off their products for purchase with owners Lisa and Mark Leffler; the Youngstown Garden Club was present selling plants and herbs; and Body Mind & Soul Center owners Lynn Bahringer and Jenny Rose were kind enough to make T-shirts with “Youngstown Street Dance 2021.” That was a first!
YBPA had a table with a bubble machine and new signage (thanks to Stephanie Cattarin) with our 50/50 split winner donating her winnings back to the YBPA to help offset the expenses of the night. The two major foodies were the Ontario House (aka The Jug) with Barb and Mike Costello, and The Village Diner with Cathy Pasquantino and her staff serving up lots of tasty treats. These two businesses have been welcoming street dance attendees for every year since we started in 2010. We thank them both, especially since most food vendors were unable to participate due to lack of staff – a common problem since the pandemic hit.
More shout-outs go out to Catherine Stella, who organized the vendors, finalized the insurance forms and provided a street map, which was a monumental job in just a few weeks’ time; Youngstown’s Susan Geissler, who opened her studio for all to view and enjoy; and, finally, the team from Niagara Frontier Publications who helped promote our event both before and after, as well as being an advocate for the YBPA.
The YBPA is a group of volunteers – no paid staff. We volunteer our time and energy to try to make our little corner of the world a safe and fun place to enjoy life. This yearly street dance is a cooperative effort of many people who are like-minded and care about Youngstown and the Town of Porter.
YBPA thanks everyone for participating and we’ll see you all next year!