‘Thursdays on the Platz’ brings new life to downtown

Nick Schwebach, Owen DeJong and Larry Rohrer of the Public Domain Tune Band provide musical entertainment as this summers first Thursdays on the Platz kicked off July 21 in the Ratingen Platz in downtown Vermillion. (Photo by David Lias)

The ongoing heat wave ebbed last week to coincide perfectly for the first Thursdays on the Platz of 2011.

Kicking off around 6 p.m. at the Ratingen Platz on the corner of Market and Main streets, the event was sponsored by Hy-Vee and hosted by the Vermillion Rotary Club. Live music was provided by the Public Domain Tune Band.

Rotary kicked off the event with the dedication of a clock that now stands in the Platz.

Thank you all very much for being here today and helping us celebrate Vermillion, said Rotary club president Dave Herbster.

The clock was presented to the city in honor of its sesquicentennial, as well as to emphasize the revitalization of downtown, he said.

This project started two years ago when then-Rotary president Dave Lorenz brought the idea and concept to the board, Herbster said. They then passed the torch to John Prescott, who was our president last year, and was really instrumental in bringing this clock to Vermillion and making it a reality.

Steve Parker, Vermillion Hy-Vee store manager, said Hy-Vee is honored to be a part of the event.

We paired with the Rotary dedication of the clock just as a great community effort to come out on an evening, have some music, some fun, some food and just a chance for everybody to get together, he said.

Herbster thanked Mid-American Energy, the Vermillion Community Foundation, Rotary District 5610, the Vermillion Rotary Club, Joe and Mary Edelen and Pat and Willis Sutliff for their roles in the dedication of the clock.

We could not have done this without your commitment, support and belief in making Vermillion a better place, he said.

This is the second year of Thursdays on the Platz, which offers Vermillion area residents a chance to interact with friends while enjoying food and live music.

Michelle Maloney, a member of the Thursdays on the Platz group and a downtown business owner, said the event has been easier to organize this year.

Once youve done it before its a little easier, she said. (The event itself) hasnt changed, really. We try to keep it a family-friendly event where everybody can bring their family, bring their kids, sit outside, have a beverage and just enjoy.

So far, response has been positive, she said.

I had a young couple that moved to Sioux Falls that came back for one last year and said, Oh, I wish they would have had this when we were living here. Very positive. Everyone is supportive, Maloney said.

Parker said that sense of support is one of the reasons Hy-Vee sponsored the first Platz event of the summer.

Were very privileged to be in the community, number one, and number two, to be able to provide fellowship and a community gathering so were very honored, he said.

There are three more Thursdays on the Platz this year, scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m.:

Aug. 4: The event will be sponsored by Aramark and hosted by Downtown Vermillion, featuring music by Narrative Feed.

Aug. 25: First Dakota National Bank, CorTrust Bank, Bank of the West, First Bank & Trust and Vermillion Credit Union will sponsor, with the United Way hosting. Music will be provided by Old Funk Riot.

Sept. 1: The event will be sponsored by the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce & Development Company and the University of South Dakota. DJ music will be featured.

Maloney said she has high hopes for the rest of the summer.

If the weather is like this the rest of the time, itll be great. But, I think the more people get used to it and know what it is, the better it will be, she said.

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