Red Deerians enjoy spending time downtown thanks to Ross Street Patio, which makes “an enormous difference” for area businesses. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deerians enjoy spending time downtown thanks to Ross Street Patio, which makes “an enormous difference” for area businesses. (Advocate file photo)

Ross Street Patio thrived this past summer

It was an “exceptional” summer for the Ross Street Patio, says the executive director of the Downtown Red Deer Business Association.

“The businesses along there have been absolutely thriving,” said Amanda Gould.

“All of the businesses have really taken the patio under their wing. They’ve been doing their own music, their own special events. They’ve really been taking advantage of all the people it attracts.”

Red Deerians “just love” the patio, Gould added.

“Almost every patio performance has been full. It’s just great to see the businesses there and the public patio buzzing with people all summer,” she said.

The Ross Street Patio is described as a gathering and entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Red Deer. The venue features furniture and a stage area, where musicians perform.

Through a partnership between the Downtown Business Association and the City of Red Deer, the patio offers live music through the summer and into early fall – the final concert performance for the season was Oct. 7.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Ross Street Patio was limited to 75 people this summer.

The patio makes “an enormous difference” for the businesses downtown.

“People are coming down to see the (Ross Street Patio) and the activity that’s happening with live entertainment. Then they see the restaurants and realize they can sit on those patios, enjoy a drink and have something to eat while catching the live performances going on,” she said.

Bobby-Jo Stannard, City of Red Deer community development superintendent, said the Ross Street Patio gives residents an opportunity to support the businesses, as well as arts and culture.

“It’s been a fabulous way to work with the community. The Red Deer Arts Council and the Downtown Business Association partner together to bring the programming that happens on the Ross Street Patio,” Stannard said.

“We’re hoping that will continue all winter long as well.”

Another event that brought people downtown this past summer was the Meet the Street festival. The weekend-long event in September featured live entertainment, a street art fair, an artisan market, community pop-up activities and more.

Thirteen artists created murals to help beautify the downtown leading up to the festival.

“What we’ve seen in many cities in Canada, as well as internationally, is the downtown is really the heart of the community,” she said.

“If there’s a vibrant and healthy downtown, it’s often indicative of a healthy community. It’s really important to ensure those opportunities for small businesses exist downtown, as well as opportunities to gather as a community in celebration.”