By Asia Alvarez Zeller • Of the News-Register

Heart of Dayton lively each Friday night

Marcus Larson/News-Register##
The Second Winds Community Band, under the direction of Mark Williams, performs patriotic tunes for the crowd during Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## The Second Winds Community Band, under the direction of Mark Williams, performs patriotic tunes for the crowd during Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Hanna Palo with First Federal tries to get her dog Pepper to wear a pair of green sunglasses during the Dayton Friday Nights event.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Hanna Palo with First Federal tries to get her dog Pepper to wear a pair of green sunglasses during the Dayton Friday Nights event.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Don Price of Gypsy Rose Carriage takes patrons down Ferry Street for a slow relaxing ride during Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Don Price of Gypsy Rose Carriage takes patrons down Ferry Street for a slow relaxing ride during Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Eight-year-old Monce Martinez uses a pair of sticks and some string to make giant soap bubbles, a fun childrens activity at Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Eight-year-old Monce Martinez uses a pair of sticks and some string to make giant soap bubbles, a fun childrens activity at Dayton Friday Nights.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Lucy Wright and other children make pine cone peanut butter bird feeders during the Dayton Friday Nights event.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Lucy Wright and other children make pine cone peanut butter bird feeders during the Dayton Friday Nights event.

DAYTON — In the heart of Dayton is the Courthouse Square Park with the large, white Martin Miller Fountain at its center.

Each Friday night during summer, children zip through the playground on one end of the park while, on the other end, a row of vendors lines the walking path. A band plays to a crowd gathered in front of the central bandstand, lounging on blankets and in camping chairs.

The park is home to Dayton Friday Nights, a weekly Friday night summer event organized by Dayton Community Development Association. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday until the end of the summer.

Program manager Kelly Haverkate said Dayton Friday Nights began six years ago as a way to “activate our park and to bring business and busyness to downtown.”

The park was undergoing major improvements around that time. Between 2008 and 2015, public and private investment paid for new sidewalks, lighting, restroom and playground; rehabilitation of the historic Fort Yamhill Blockhouse and bandstand; and rebuilding of the fountain — about $320,000 worth of work in total. 

DCDA doesn’t charge admission or a tabling fee for vendors. The program is funded through local sponsors and the town’s events budget.

Haverkate said the event averages 400 to 700 people each week. People from throughout Yamhill County come for the festivities, but mostly the park is filled with folks local to Dayton.

Emily Natalie, DCDA board member, said they get a lot of regulars.

“[It’s the] same people every Friday night, here to support it, here to have fun,” she said. “The park is always utilized; it’s one of the only parks in Dayton.”

For example, Haverkate said a local church sometimes holds services in the park and a Latino festival is held there every April.

It’s a place for weddings, quinceañeras and birthday parties alike.

“The townspeople have always utilized the park but [Dayton Friday Nights] was more about bringing a community-centered and focused event for everyone that was kind of applicable to all ages,” Natalie said.

Jeanne Putman and her friend, Louie Finnicum, have been volunteering since Dayton Friday Nights began.

“We’ve grown up here and we know a lot of people, but there’s a lot of people we don’t know, too, so it’s always nice to meet someone else,” Putman said. “There’s lots of people to see.”

Putman had some advice for anyone who wants to volunteer: “just be happy and introduce yourself and go around and tell them that you welcome them here.”

At last Friday’s event, park goers trickled in and planted their camping chairs and picnic blankets in view of Second Winds Community Band, which provided the night’s music.

The full band, too large to play on the gazebo, warmed up while boys rode bikes through the park and small children lined up to get their faces painted by the Crazy Chicken Lady Face Painting.

As 6:30 rolled around, Natalie approached the microphone to greet attendees, welcome new volunteers and thank the sponsors.

She then turned the microphone over to Second Winds, which started off the set with the National Anthem. Second Winds has members from all over Yamhill, Marion, Polk and Washington counties.

This Friday, vendors included Delyteful Whatnots by Arna Meaders of McMinnville, Paparazzi Accessories by Heather Freeman from Amity and a Healthcare For All booth run by Carole Hansen and Liz Marlia-Stein. Other vendors included Hello Fresh and First Federal.

This is the first summer Freeman has participated in the Friday Nights series. She loves it so far, and said it’s great that vendors can set up for free. The event is also a good way to meet people, she added.

Second Winds serenaded the center of town for the next hour. Vintage cars lined up on Fourth Street, which had been closed for the festivities. Throughout the night, park goers milled about to admire the cars, and the kids played in the playground.

“The idea was just to bring some vitality and vibrancy back to downtown,” Haverkate said.

It seems to be working.

Comments

Daytonian

We love Dayton Friday Nights! Enjoy the community and visitors from out of town - I've heard folks from out of the area be amazed at what our little town puts on every Friday in the summer.

John J. Collins

Go Dayton! Well done.