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Feeling fine and confident after fiesta in Wilkes-Barre

City leaders hope the successful return of the popular festival on Public Square will spark more interest in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — It's time to tear down all the tents from the Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes-Barre.

After thousands came to see the band Spin Doctors on Friday night, folks in the city are feeling on top.

"This weekend is definitely a high point for us. It's one of the happiest several days that we've had in downtown since the start of the pandemic," said Larry Newman with the Diamond City Partnership.

The weekend debuted one of the biggest improvements on Public Square this year—the new permanent outdoor stage awning and backdrop.

"It was a long time coming because, first of all, with the pandemic, the cost rose, and then also materials were tough to get. We got it together, and it's a beautiful stage," said Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown.

A lot of other work is being done on the square, including new landscaping and pavers.

"We're totally doing this square over along with the new stage area, so it's going to be a focal point for people to come," the mayor said.

The goal is to continue bringing crowds downtown.

"If you program and activate public spaces on a regular basis and on an effective basis, people will show up, and they will be patronizing businesses," Newman said.

Businesses downtown hope this is a sign of good things to come.

"I'm just glad everything that they are having, things that they're going to bring more people in, more than they used to. The city's moving in the right direction," said Brenda Sokolowski at Circles Deli.

Following the annual Fine Arts Fiesta, the city announced it will be hosting its first jazz festival in May of 2024, featuring acts on the stage on Public Square and throughout the city.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.  

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