SC_TIMES_TRIB-20190826-B-PG1-TT26HILLCLIMB_5-8745669

A bicyclist competes in the Electric City Classic hill climb on Olive Street in Scranton’s Hill Section in August 2019.

With health and safety restrictions lifted this summer, it’s been wonderful to watch the transition back to business models that include indoor services and face-to-meetings, and to see such great participation and support for community events. It’s a welcome change, and it has a positive economic impact on the region.

As we usher in the last leg of summer this month, let’s keep the economic momentum rolling and remember to support local businesses when we enjoy festivals and public events. Many small businesses, particularly those in the restaurant and hospitality industry, face a long road to recovery. The opportunity for extra foot traffic into their establishments during community events is critical. That’s why we’re pleased to share this list of upcoming events that will help us restore the sense of comradery and normalcy for which we have been longing, and generate a much-needed economic boost for local businesses:

● The Electric City Classic Hill Climb: A project of Scranton Tomorrow, will be held Aug. 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Olive Street, between Prescott and Taylor avenues. The race is open to bicyclists of all skill levels. Its unique location poses the ultimate test for professional and amateur athletes as Olive Street is a very steep hill. Its upper section is still covered in brick, adding both charm and challenge to the race. A great free, family event nestled within the historic hill section.

This is another great opportunity for local businesses to see an influx of new customers in addition to their regulars. We encourage them to capitalize on this event and create “classic” menu items and promotions with hill climb themes. To learn more, visit electriccityclassic.org and follow the classic on social media.

● La Festa Italiana: La Festa Italiana returns to Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton, Sept. 3 through 6. Organizers are working to craft a fun, safe, and delicious event in downtown Scranton, complete with extraordinary, and crowd pleasing, musical talent. A 45-year old tradition in the Electric City, the festival celebrates Italian cuisine and culture, attracting an estimated 100,000 people to downtown Scranton annually. Look for updates at https://lafestaitaliana.org/.

● The Santa Parade: On Nov. 20, another longtime tradition returns as the Santa Parade kicks off the holiday season in downtown Scranton at 9 a.m. So get your hats and gloves ready, grab a hot chocolate at your favorite downtown cafe, and enjoy spectacular floats, drummers, dancers and more. For additional details, visit http://www.santaparade.net.

Join us in celebrating these wonderful events and continue to support local.

Leslie Collins is the president and CEO of Scranton Tomorrow, a nonprofit economic development organization in Scranton.

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