Jazz on the Square Returns to Downtown Middletown for Second Season

“It was a very friendly and welcoming environment. So even people who didn’t know last year, who ended up downtown, came to join us,” Novak said.

I am delighted to have an activity like this downtown, she said. It shows people another side of Middletown.

“My kids came with me last year and they were ecstatic. I hope to see more kids this year because it’s really a family event,” Novak said.

Cal Wills, co-founder of People’s Initiative Network and one of the organizers of Jazz on the Square, said he was looking forward to bringing something positive to downtown Middletown.

“We wanted to create something where the whole community could hang out, shop at some downtown stores, and publicize some restaurants. We thought jazz was universal, so we could bring people from all walks of life together downtown at one great event,” Wills said.

He said the event will bring awareness to downtown as well as business to some of the downtown small business owners.

“We thought it would be a win-win situation for everyone. So it’s just about creating something that can bring the community together,” Wills said.

Jazz on the Square is presented by People’s Initiative Network, United Way Black Empowerment Works and Downtown Middletown Inc. Jazz on the Square was created in hopes of showcasing the city’s diversity and attracting more owned businesses by blacks and starting downtown. Last year the events were held on Fridays, but due to possible football matches they have been moved to Saturday nights this year.

“Our goal is really to get people into the habit of coming downtown for fun, entertainment, food and all that kind of stuff. During the warmer months, music is one of the best ways to do this. So come down, bring your lawn chair and enjoy the music. Many businesses will be open, but if you wanted to bring a picnic, that’s fine too,” said Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc.

Customers can also enjoy DORA by visiting restaurants and bars in the area to get a DORA bracelet and a DORA mug.

“Personally, I love music, and really, all kinds of music, so it’s always nice to come in, sit down, listen and enjoy the sounds. So if nothing else, it makes for a great time downtown,” Payne said.

The concerts will take place on the fourth Saturday of each month, from May to September. Other concerts scheduled for this season will include El Ritmo Del Mañana on June 25; C. Baccus & Co. on July 23; LYD with Yolanda Drake on August 27 and The Flex Crew on September 24.

How to get there

What: Jazz in the Square

When: Fourth Sat of each month – May to September. The first event is May 28, from 6-9 p.m. A DJ will perform at each concert from 6-7 p.m., followed by live music from 7-9 p.m.

Where: Governor’s Square Park, Central Ave. and S. Broad St., Downtown Middletown

Cost: Free, open to the public.

More information.: www.downtownmiddletown.org. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact Michelle Novak at [email protected] or call (513) 571-6880.

David H. Henry