COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - (From left to right) Karen Hutson, Antoinette Dehn, and Cynthia Giacobone of Three Rivers pose with their bags from Sass in the City Friday night. Over 500 people from around the area attended Sass in the City, one of the biggest turnouts in the event’s history.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Darcy Jones (left) and Jeffrey Keefer (right) perform a song on the sidewalk during Sass in the City Friday night.

High turnout for annual Sass in the City

THREE RIVERS — Ladies from all around the area packed downtown Three Rivers Friday night for the annual Sass in the City “ladies’ night out.”

Organizers were very pleased with the turnout for Friday’s event, saying it was one of the highest turnouts they’ve seen for the event post-COVID. It was estimated that over 500 people came out to the event, while the weather cooperated nicely with clear skies and a light breeze throughout the night.

“I was ecstatic, overwhelmed, and pleasantly surprised on Friday’s turnout,” Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Cameron Mains said. “Seeing every store downtown being so busy at the same time really made me feel whole. One of my primary job objectives is to promote economic vitality and bringing large numbers of people to downtown Three Rivers is part of that.”

Almost 25 different downtown merchants participated in Friday’s event, each of them offering specials, giveaways, discounts and more. At check-in, eventgoers could pick up information on the event and vote for Queen Sass (won by Joslyn Newberry), which doubled as a fundraiser for HarmonyFest.

The first 250 people in attendance received a swag bag from the DDA, which came with a commemorative Sass in the City-themed wine glass, lip gloss, sunglasses, a phone case, and a coupon book filled with the deals at all the merchants.

One of the bigger attractions during this year’s event was the official ribbon cutting and launch of The Cedar and Sage Boutique, a new women’s clothing store on Portage Avenue. A number of people made their way in and out of the store during the festival, where they received $5 off any purchase made.

Mains said having Cedar and Sage open was a “fabulous” unofficial kickoff to the night, and was a way to showcase the new business.

“I really wanted this year’s Sass in the City to Highlight Cedar and Sage because they are a new business that many in the community might not have been introduced to yet,” Mains said. “The ribbon cutting gave the DDA Board and The Cedar and Sage Owner, Katie Jacobs, a chance to show the community that there are new and exciting ventures in Downtown Three Rivers.”

Other merchants had a bit of fun with their booths. The Three Rivers Woman’s Club (TRWC), for example, set up inside the Brucrew Coffee building at 42 N. Main St. with a popcorn stand, gift basket raffles and a photo booth featuring cardboard cutouts of Chippendales. This year was their second year participating, and Past President Mary Kay Todd said it was a great night to do so.

“It’s just a night to have all the women out on the town and seeing everyone just enjoying themselves, especially having been shut down for a couple of years,” Todd said.

“We really enjoy being able to be part of the community tonight. As one of the oldest service clubs in the community, it’s one way for us to give back and expose the club to different women who may not know who we are,” TRWC Chair Jenny Koski added.

As for the business side, Parker Jewelers owner Darrell Parker said he was pleased with the high turnout on the evening.

“It’s been a great turnout, perfect weather for it, and the small parking lot behind us, the overflow parking, was full, so it’s an excellent turnout for the ladies tonight,” Parker said. “We sold some rings here this evening I’ll be sizing, but it’s a good opportunity for the ladies to get out, enjoy themselves, and relax for a few hours. I just enjoy the people having fun, and that’s the main thing.”

DDA Board Chair Andrew George agreed that the night was an enjoyable one and praised Mains for helping to organize the event.

“The turnout today is obviously the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” George said. “I think this is a huge testament to the hard work our new director, Cameron Mains, and the entire Sass in the City Committee has been putting in.”

Mains said there were a number of takeaways from this year’s event that could be used to improve on for next year, in particular the check-in process. At one point during the evening, nearly an hour in to the three-hour event, the East Alley walkthrough, the lone hub for checking in, was completely filled up, with lines overflowing into the east parking lot.

“We had attendees waiting in line longer that they should have and actually ran out of the commemorative wine glass gift for the first 250 attendees pretty quickly,” Mains said. “Next year, the DDA will be looking into setting up multiple locations for attendees to smooth out the check in process.”

Overall, Mains said he’s looking forward to next year’s event, and called this year’s event a successful one.

“Sass in the City is an opportunity to celebrate the strong ‘sassy’ women that we have leading our community,” Mains said. “Are there some details that I would like to tweak for next year? Yes, but overall seeing the downtown come alive and members of my community reconnecting is a success that I will take with me in this role.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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