Summer Nights kicks off in Rapid City - KOTA Territory News

Summer Nights kicks off in Rapid City

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At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, the band checked their sound, the vendors were stocked with food, and people started to set up blankets and chairs to kick off Rapid City's Summer Nights.

Sandy Schwan, the event director of Summer Nights, guesstimates between eight and ten thousand people will come out to the event.

There are some new elements to Summer Nights this year, including a new layout. Rapid City Summer Nights and Main Street Square are working together to create twice the fun with two stages with year, and two different bands.

At Main Street Square Thursday, "Dogs Without Sweaters" played. At the stage on Saint Joseph's Street, "Powerplay."

Schwan says working with Main Street Square has given new opportunities for the expansion of Summer Nights. "Two organizations running it just gives us twice as many people and twice as many resources so it's not about merging so much as it is about making a partnership," said Schwan.

Also new, this is the first time Saint Joseph's Street has been closed down for the event. Some business owners on Saint Joseph's Street say Summer Nights is good for business.

"I think it's great for just promoting your business," said Justin Henrichsen, co-owner of Independent Ale House. "I also look for it because we're busy and we sell a lot of beer and pizza."

Others find the event to deter customers.

"I  already had a customer that was in earlier this afternoon that said she wouldn't be back on Thursday afternoons," said Dennis Halterman, the owner of The Factory Hair Salon. "So within a couple weeks it will be certain we won't have any business on Thursday afternoons.

Halterman added that he has tried to meet up with event organizers to talk about ways to reduce the negative effects on his business, but they haven't been receptive.

Summer Nights runs free every Thursday during the summer from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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