Kalamazoo residents concerned about underutilized festival site
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Many food trucks lined Bronson Park for the Lunchtime Live series in Kalamazoo, but some of the owners said they see even more business with festivals at the Arcadia Creek Festival site.
The downtown festival site has sat mostly empty for the 2017 festival season.
Tyler Stephenson, Kalamazoo, said, “It just seems like they're all going away or somewhere else."
Kalamazoo City officials said plans are in the works to better use the space, but many downtown say they miss all the summer activity.
Kalamazoo on Tap, The Greek Festival, IrishFest, Black Arts Festival and Blues Fest filled the space two years ago, but they've relocated or gone away.
Stephenson said, "Born and raised here. Been here my whole life. I love seeing people downtown. Commuting with each other. Communicating with each other. It's great to see all kinds of different people. Now it just feels like they stripped it all away from us."
Cecilia Taylor, The Organic Gypsy, said, “It's really good for our business, and I think just the sense of the community in the park is really great. It's fun to be here, and we always get a really good turnout."
Owner of the Gorilla Gourmet Noel Corwin said, "The absence of festivals that were at the Arcadia Festival site is something I think the whole community misses. We've heard from a number of our customers that was something they looked forward to."
Kaitlin Rose, a musician in Kalamazoo, checked out the food trucks for the first time. She'll also be performing music at a rally in September
Rose said, "I love Bronson Park. My kids have come here over the many summer, so they're comfortable here. They know the area really well, and it feels really safe. I think a lot of people in Kalamazoo wish that the festivals were staying there, and that's unfortunate. But, I think the attendance here at this food truck thing is building, and musicians are here every week as well.”
Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. said plans are in the works to get more use of the festival space in seasons to come.
The Kalamazoo RibFest is still on the schedule for the Arcadia Creek Festival site in 2017 and runs August 3 through August 5.