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A ‘smashing success’

Friday, November 1, 2013 11:30 am

By Heather Murschel Black Hills Pioneer

SPEARFISH — The amount of people organizers originally estimated earlier this spring to attend the 2013 Downtown Friday Nights were way off this year, and that’s a good thing.

Scott Temple, who is the face of Downtown Friday Nights held every Friday through the summer on Main Street, revealed the news to Spearfish City Council members that this year was the biggest yet and thanked them for their support.

“For those of you who were downtown on Friday nights this summer will most likely agree with me when I say it was a smashing success,” Temple said. “Last year we had about 2,000 people by the end of the summer, which we thought was remarkable. So, this year we were hoping for at least 3,000 or more and we were blown out of the water to realize that we had more crowds of more than 5,000 people.”

This, he said, is equal to half the community.

Whether it was the local and regional musicians who performed on stage, the variety of food and craft vendors, children’s activities or to see the Budweiser Clydesdales, there was always something for everyone.

“The one great thing about all of this is the reaction we get from people when we talk about Downtown Friday Nights,” Temple said. “The first couple of years, there were a lot of people who didn’t know about it. Now, everyone knows about it by now, and when we bring it up it brings a smile to their face.”

Although the Downtown Business Association is the main entity behind the Main Street block party and its members have made it what it is today, there are a lot of local residents who stepped up to the plate time and time again.

So, because volunteers they are so important to its success, Temple recognized several of them who make the community-wide event possible.

“Because the event is privately funded, volunteers are a significant part of the operation,” Temple said. “This summer more than 200 volunteers donated their time and energy this summer, and because of its continued growth, more will be necessary next year.

“Good volunteers are hard to come by, so when we get some we tend to want to hang on to them for a while,” he said.

To showcase their dedication to city officials, Temple recognized the Spearfish Community Coalition and its members for taking on the project of making sure everyone who wanted a beer or a glass of wine was at least 21 years old.

“We had a lot of difficulty with this in the past,” he said. “So when we met to come up with ideas on how to improve the event they came up with an idea that ended up saving us a lot of time and energy this summer.”

Temple said the coalition had volunteers on hand every week with devices that checked and verified everyone’s ID in order to provide a wristband signifying their age.

“It was the single biggest group we had over the course of the summer, and they made our life so much easier,” he said. “So from all of us we want to thank you all very much.”

When it came to logistics there is one person who stepped up.

Leland Ruzicka, who owns the B&B Bar and Back Porch and is active in the Downtown Business Association responsible for Downtown Friday Nights, donated space in his basement to store logistical items for the event such as tables, chairs and barricades.

“Without him we don’t get this thing done,” Temple said, noting he’s probably embarrassing Ruzicka at this point. “Then on top of it, he’s out there every Friday morning helping me get ready, close off the street or whatever else he can do.”

And, lastly he said there are always a few “stand out” volunteers. This year, the award goes to John Carter of Spearfish, who showed up one of the first weekends and asked what he could do to help.

“Well, we put him to work and he kept coming back,” Temple said. “This is a guy who decided to get involved and because of that he made things so much easier for us.”

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