The Whole Package: Introducing Wednesdays Downtown

Wednesdays Story

The Fremont East Entertainment District is all of a piece. What we tend to think of as a collection of independent businesses is, at the end of the day, really just one body with connected limbs: The Griffin is connected to Inspire, Park on Fremont is connected to Insert Coin(s), the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone, etc. Everything fits together.

And yet, there hasn’t been a way to experience all of Fremont East at once … until now. Beginning on May 7, presents Wednesdays Downtown, a weekly event that brings together all the good stuff Fremont East has to offer—cocktails, dining, live entertainment, visual art—and wraps it up in refined, Brooklyn/San Francisco-style urban swagger.

(A bit of editorial disclosure here: While DTLV is presenting this event, the editorial staff of this blog has nothing whatever to do with the conception or implementation of Wednesdays Downtown. This is a good thing that sprouted among the business owners of Fremont East, including Commonwealth/Park On Fremont’s Ryan Doherty and Justin Weniger, who also own this blog. I’ll be as excited to check out Wednesdays Downtown as anyone, but the fact is that is directly related to this event, so please consider that as you read on.)

Virtually everyone on Fremont Street has a hand in Wednesdays Downtown. The street will be closed at Las Vegas Boulevard and 6th Street and festooned with thousands of string lights. Nearly every Fremont East bar will offer drink specials from 6 p.m. to midnight; organizers are calling it “The World’s Greatest Happy Hour.” A “painter’s lounge” will teach budding artists to wield a brush, and allow experienced artists to create new works in a unique and festive environment. And a village of food trucks will be set up, overseen by event co-producer Jolene Mannina’s new company Relish; this will be no scrubby Portland-style food truck pod, but a comfortable outdoor dining area with plenty of picnic seating and gelato bikes full of yum.

And it probably goes without saying that there will be entertainment of virtually every stripe, from live bands to DJ sets to spoken word performances. Several huge surprises are planned, most of which I’m loath to give away because I hate spoilers as much as you do. (Seriously, stop telling me what’s happening on Game of Thrones this season. Dammit, I’ll catch up.) But I will let two of them slip: there is a rumor of fireworks, and talk of a Pac-Man game that will cover the entire side of a building. In my dreams alone have I seen such things.

There’s still more to be said about Wednesdays Downtown—including its bicycle-friendliness, the terrific mix of entertainers scheduled to appear—but really, the most exciting thing about the event is the fact that it’s bring all of Fremont together, really for the first time. You’ll wander from the rooftop of Commonwealth to the game floor of Insert Coin(s) to the theater at Inspire without a second thought. That’s your Fremont East, behaving as it’s supposed to: as a full-blown entertainment district, with something for everyone.

Vegas Seven