Firefly Nights BG

Firefly Nights ready for an encore season

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Last June, Laura Wicks remembers setting up Main Street for the first Firefly Nights Summer Festival. It was a quarter hour before starting time, Wicks recalled, and she could see people heading into downtown. “By 6 the street was full,” she said. “It was a joyful moment.” Last August, from left, Amy Craft Ahrens, Kati Thompson, Stacie Banfield, and Laura Wicks announcing a another Firefly Nights downtown festival will be held Oct. 19. “It makes you realize we were actually filling a void,” said Kati Thompson, Eden Fashion Boutique. “We had a hunch, but then to see it all come to fruition.” The original Firefly idea as conceived by downtown business women Wicks, Thompson, Stacie Banfield, and Gayle Walterbach, was for a three-festival series on the third Fridays of June, July, and August, preceded by a 5K run/walk to raise funds and generate interest. That was extended to a fall festival in October, which took the place of downtown trick-or-treat. Now the organizers are ready for an encore. The 5K run is scheduled for Friday, May 17  starting at the Wood County Public Library at 9 p.m. The family friendly event is a way to help build community in “a fun and healthy way,” said Stacie Banfield, of Mode Elle Boutique. Those participating range from elementary school students to senior citizens.  Participants get luminaries for safety. Block play at Firefly nights Then on June 21 the first festival is set to go at the same hours as last year, 6-10 p.m. The others are July 19, Aug. 16, and Oct. 18. The offerings will be the same — bands, vendors, food trucks, kids activities, and a beer garden. The footprint has been shortened by a block, extending down Main Street from Clough to Court streets. The organizers decided after some rainy nights last year that they wanted the beer garden and stage covered. That was only feasible if they had one of each. So now all the music will be on the north end with the beer garden. Michelle Elson, who books the bands, said: “I’m continuing to focus on local music. We have lots of great musicians right here in Bowling Green and around the 419 area.” Performers scheduled for June 21 are: Drew Joseph, 6 p.m.; Vester Frey, 7p.m.; The Barn Cats, 8 p.m.; and Corduroy Road, 9 p.m. Having the bands…


Tricked-out Firefly Nights will offer plenty of treats for kids & grownups

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights is adding some new tricks to the downtown festival to provide more treats for kids and adults alike.  The Firefly Nights Fall Festival will be held Friday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. in downtown Bowling Green. The festival continues the series of events offered throughout the summer. Now it’ll change colors just a bit to fit the season. For kids that means a costume contest, trunk and treat, pumpkin decorating, and a kiddie tractor pull. For adults that means a farmers market, more music, free yoga classes, and beer gardens on both ends of Main Street. Adults are invited to come in costume as well. The fall festival took shape through parallel discussions by the Firefly organizers and the downtown merchants. Mary Hinkelman, former Downtown Bowling Green director and now Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the concerns about downtown trick or treat were raised by merchants. Downtown trick or treating had outgrown the streets. She estimated about 2,000 children trick-or-treated downtown last year. That many youngsters accompanied by adults jammed the sidewalks, causing safety concerns. The merchants wondered: What if they could block off the street as they do for Firefly Nights? Hinkelman took the idea to the board of directors and they approved. So did the Firefly Nights organizers who were already considering doing one more festival in fall. “I think it was the zeitgeist of the time,” said Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. “You know how small towns work — good ideas just grow.” A new partnership was born. Laura Wicks said the idea was: “Why not make it more of a family friendly activity instead of just filling up a bag of candy?” So the Fall Firefly Nights will be held instead of downtown trick or treat, which had typically been on the Thursday before Halloween. In place of children going to door to door to businesses, Thayer Family dealerships is bringing cars downtown, and treats will be doled out from the trunks. Trinity United Methodist, a couple blocks off Main Street, will also hold its trunk or treat event that night from 6 to 8 p.m. In the Firefly costume contest, judges roaming the crowd will select 40 kids — 20 from earlier in the night, 20 from later — based on the creativity and effort put into their outfi. Firefly Nights will also…


Firefly Nights announces a Halloween-themed encore festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even after a wet start to the evening, the more than 200 people who were around at the end for Friday’s Firefly Night festival, still wanted more music from the closing act Freight Street. So the local folk-rock quintet, fronted by Boo Lee Crosser with singer Flannery Murnen, drummer JP Stebal, bassist Devonte Stovall, and violinist Kathleen Schnerer, obliged. This was to have been end of the three-event community festivals for the season. But organizers also have an encore planned. The businesswomen who spearheaded and organized Firefly Nights in downtown Bowling Green announced at the end of the night that there will be one more festival this year on Oct. 19. The October event will feature the same mix of music, food, kid activities, and shopping, only with a Halloween theme. Working with Downtown Bowling Green, the Firefly Night fest will take the place of downtown treat or treating. Mary Hinkelman, director of Downtown BG, said that the festival was a way to continue the trick or treating while adding more activities both for youngsters and the whole family. Kati Thompson, one of the Firefly founders, said the idea came up through discussions by the organizers. Hinkelman responded favorably to the possibility, and suggested using it to replace downtown trick or treating. With about 2,000 kids taking part last year, the event is becoming unmanageable, she said, with kids having to wait in long lines to get their treats. They then approached the city about the possibilities of staging another festival, which requires closing Main Street in downtown off to traffic. City officials approved. In announcing the event, Thompson said: “Don’t worry we’ll still have plenty of treats for the children, but we’ll combine that with fun for the entire community.” What Halloween activities will be offered and how the treat or treating will be handled is still being discussed. Possibilities include hayrides, a kiddie parade, Halloween and fall themed activities, doughnuts and cider, and even a costume contest for children and adults. Thompson said details will be forthcoming. The Oct. 19 Firefly Nights festival will be held 6-10 p.m., same as the summer events. Friday’s event got off to a soggy start with a downpour shortly after it began. Festivalgoers sought shelter under awnings, and in shops and restaurants. Laura Wicks and Gayle Walterbach, two of the founders, said they expected restaurants did…