TGIF Manistee brings community to downtown area

Children and youth were getting their faces painted during the event on Friday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

Children and youth were getting their faces painted during the event on Friday. (Ashlyn Korienek/ News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Although Manistee is a small town, the community has many treasures to offer to both residents and visitors.
Bringing visitors and residents together in the downtown area, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) sponsored the first TGIF Manistee event at 5 p.m. on Friday, partnering with multiple businesses and community organizations.

On Friday, River Street from Division Street to Greenbush Street and from Pine Street to Spruce Street was closed to traffic for event activities. The streets were packed with residents and visitors enjoying several activities such as face painting, a dunk tank, the Elks Fish Fry and many others.

For the second event on Aug. 18, activities will be on River Street from Division Street to Maple Street and Maple Street to Oak Street. These portions of River Street will be closed to traffic.

Tyler Leppanen, DDA executive and economic development director, said the event aims to draw more people into the downtown area, giving a spotlight to local businesses and allowing others outside of Manistee to enjoy its unique features.

“I thought it was a great turn out, people seem to be enjoying themselves,” he said. “The sidewalk sales were very successful throughout the day. We are looking to hopefully do this again sometime, outside of doing it next weekend.”

Jacquelyn Gielczyk, DDA board member, said nearly 50 vendors are signed up to attend the TGIF Manistee events. Marketing and Promotions worked to receive many of these sponsors.

Many of the vendors included Famous Flynn’s, The Vogue Theatre, the Manistee Chamber of Commerce and many others. In addition to the various vendors, shops had sidewalk sales exclusive for the weekend.

Attendees flooded the streets, regardless of the partly cloudy skies. The cotton candy station and food tents had lines with at least 5-10 people throughout the evening.
Several bands played live music for the event, such as Carly and Marty and DJ Cole Black. In addition, several food trucks were present, and will also be at both events.

The Armory Youth Project, who recently opened its doors in January at 555 First St., had a table promoting its services for youth and had a raffle for free t-shirts. Robert Carpenter, executive director, said TGIF Manistee was the perfect time to meet local and out-of-town people.

“I have had plenty of people who are out-of-town come up and talk to me. Many of them were from Kalamazoo,” he said. “One of the reasons why we exist is because of teenagers, so we are here to show our support and show the community why we exist.”

Barry Lind, DDA board member, said the event is something that has been in the works for years.

“For something that’s been talked about for years, it’s just exciting seeing it move forward,” he said.

Another TGIF Manistee event will also take place from 5-8 p.m. on Aug. 18, with sidewalk sales, entertainment, vendors, games and other activities.


Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or

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