Downtown's Crazy Day is Friday
Crazy Day -- one of the mainstays of summertime in downtown Jamestown since the 1950s -- is back again this Friday.
Rummage sales, food vendors, crafters, businesses, games and entertainment will line the streets of First Avenue in downtown for what event organizers called a "great community outing each year."
"Good food, good bargains and good entertainment," said Charlie Kourajian, ambassador for the Main Street Downtown Association, which is sponsoring Crazy Day, describing what draws people in for the annual event.
Vendor booths will be set up all day Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. showcasing local businesses offering a combination of bargain prices and summertime inventory prior to the fall season.
Since its inception in the 1950s, the event has become a popular outing for back-to-school shopping, according to Gary Docktor, office manager at Gun & Reel Sports -- a business that opened in downtown Jamestown in 1953 and has participated in Crazy Day each year since.
"It's a good way to clean up what we have left from summer and get ready for the fall merchandise," Docktor said. "We get quite a few people from outside of town -- Carrington, Medina and such -- that come in each year, so it's a great way to bring people to our downtown."
Besides the shopping, Crazy Day is also known for its games and entertainment -- something Kourajian said will be no different this year.
"This will be our fourth year for the Ping Pong Ball Drop, which helps generate some excitement for some people hoping to win a big prize," he said.
The Ping Pong Ball Drop is an annual Crazy Day event in which event volunteers drop ping pong balls off the roof of Jerry's Furniture in downtown Jamestown onto the streets near Second Street Southeast and Main Avenue. The ping pong balls are numbered -- orange ping pong balls representing kids' prizes and white ping pong balls representing adult prizes.
"Those ping pong balls really bounce around once they're dropped and it can be kind of a mad scramble out there," Kourajian said.
People can then take their ping pong balls to a designated prize area to redeem prizes from Ping Pong Ball Drop organizer Jodi Bayer.
"We've got about 150 total prizes this year, with both kids and adults," Bayer said. "People love it. We tend to see all kinds of people sticking around for the Ping Pong Ball Drop. It's really one of the main events of the day."
Crazy Day is also a way to encourage not only the Jamestown community but outside communities as well to see what downtown Jamestown has to offer.
"It's just a big outing for everybody," said Connie DeLair, manager at Officeland in downtown Jamestown, which has been a Crazy Day vendor since the business opened more than 20 years ago. "It helps the community because it lets everyone know what we have in stock and what is available to them."
Kourajian said the Main Street Downtown Association's efforts this year are to try and restore the luster that Crazy Day had in years past.
"There's a lot of history here with what has been done in downtown and we want to make it viable again," he said.
In addition to games and entertainment such as inflatable air games, face painting, accordion music with Tim Burchill and the Top of the Stairs dancers, there will be two rummage sales. There will be a sale at First Congregational Church and a "RummageRama" on the sidewalk by Babb's Coffee House and inside the former Great Stories Book Store building.
Also, the Alfred Dickey Library will be hosting a sale inside its building on Third Avenue Southeast for its second consecutive Crazy Day.
According to Children's Librarian Jennifer Senger, about a thousand used books in addition to movies, audio books and CDs will be available for purchase for five cents each.
"The event went very well last year so we're hoping for much of the same this year," she said.
The library sale will take place in the downstairs public meeting room from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
Crazy Day begins in downtown Jamestown at 7 a.m. Friday and continues until 5 p.m.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org