By ELENA DURNBAUGH
The bright energy of Whitney Huston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” as sung by Space Cat filled the air at Fourth and Main in downtown Rochester last Friday while dance partners bounced and twirled in the golden evening sunlight.
Close to 1,500 people came to downtown Rochester last Friday to enjoy a night of music, dance, and community for the city’s second annual Dancin’ in the Street event.
“We had a really nice turn-out,” Rochester Downtown Development Authority Events Coordinator Jenna O’Dell said. “It was a really great weekend in Rochester.”
Terri Cornett and her husband drove in from Romeo to spend time with family and to attend Dancin’ in the Street. The Cornetts grew up in Rochester and both attended Rochester High School. They said the city has changed a lot since their days as students and remembered when Penny Black Grill and Tap on Fourth Street was still the Post Office. They said they liked to come back and see what was happening downtown.
“It’s fun to get together, and they have nice events,” Terri Cornett said.
While the band played and people danced at one end of Fourth Street, at the other end, hungry attendees enjoyed food fresh off the grill as part of the Rochester Tastefest. Local restaurants, including Rochester Mills Beer Co., Dessert Oasis, D’Marcos Italian Restaurant, Hungry Howie’s, Kruse and Muer, Penn Station East Coast Subs, and O’Connor’s Public House, served up samplings of some of their most popular items.
Elsewhere downtown, local shops offered discounts during Rochester’s annual sidewalk sales. The pavement was crowded as people took time to shop on their way to and from the music stage.
The event had a family-friendly atmosphere, and many parents and children enjoyed the festivities together.
Lucy and Carlos Mendoza brought their 2 1/2- year-old daughter.
“She loves to dance,” Carlos Mendoza said about his daughter. “We wanted to enjoy the weather, and the street, and the fun.”
Dance on Main studio owner Mari Bowen was at the event with 20 of her students and staff members to enjoy the dancing.
“We have a lot of students that just wanted to come out and share the love of dance with everybody and help get people energized,” Bowen said. “It’s freeing and fun, and that’s what dance is all about. That’s what dance is supposed to be.”
Bowen said Dance on Main, which is located on Main Street in Rochester, loved being part of downtown and participating in events like Dancin’ in the Street.
“We love it down here. It’s a great community feel, and we love to support anything that has to do with Rochester,” she said.
The DDA said the event ran flawlessly and was happy to see so many community members coming out to be a part of the fun.
“Great music. Great crowd,” O’Dell said. “It was a really great night.”
The DDA has several other events coming up this summer, including the new Front Porch Stories series, which begins Thursday, July 18. This Saturday, families can come downtown for the second weekend of Movies Under the Moonlight and a showing of “The Grinch.” To learn more about events happening in downtown Rochester, visit the DDA’s website.