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Jackson Square

August 28, 2014 - 3:43pm

The Independent Living Center hosted its first Taste of Independence festival in Jackson Square last night.

Several local restaurants and bakeries served food at the fundraiser, which included a basket raffle.

Participating were: D&R Depot, Rack Shack, Terry Hills, T.F. Browns, Swy's Catering, Big Pauly's, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, Bistro & Banquets, Coffee Culture Cafe & Eatery, and Tops Friendly Markets. Mueller Quaker also provided yogurt, Subway provided cookies and Wendy's provided beverages.

Above, Rae Frank and Greg Bruggman drew tickets for the raffle.

Photos by Amanda Earl.

Jeremy Franklin and Gillian Cleveland.

Yvette Lucas, Community Events Outreach coordinator.  

Donna Becker of Independent Living enters tickets for the basket raffle.

Don Bouchard.

August 4, 2014 - 6:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Amanda Earl submitted these photos of the band "It's My Party" performing Friday night at Jackson Square.

June 27, 2014 - 11:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

The annual Jackson Square concert series kicked off Friday night with a return engagement by Stone Row, who first played the series nine years ago.

The electrified Irish band entertained the crowd with traditional and contemporary numbers.

Opening the show was a string quartet from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra playing traditional Irish tunes.

For a line-up of this summer's shows, click here.

May 20, 2014 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson Square, Jackson Street.

National Grid crews had Jackson Street closed off late this afternoon for the installation of a new utility pole behind the old Bank of Genesee building. The pole is one of two put up today to replace one in Jackson Square. The old pole interferred with the third story reconstruction of the former Carr's warehouse. The old warehouse is being converted into apartment units.

May 1, 2014 - 4:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Jackson Square, 14 Jackson Square.

By the end of the month, 14 Jackson Square -- an address that never existed until recently -- will come to life in a new, and reinvented way.

The former Carr's Department Store Warehouse will contain three two-bedroom apartments (a fourth should be ready by the end of June) and a downstairs office space.

Paul Thompson and his partners will have invested more than $500,000 in the project, with the help of a state grant of $115,000, to convert the three-story structure into a mixed-use space.

The project fits a few of the city's goals to reinvigorate Downtown, said City Manager Jason Molino. It creates more residential space Downtown, more new office space and it converts a building that was doing nothing for the city into something vibrant.

"It takes a building that was always a warehouse and turns it into a useful and meaningful space Downtown," Molino said.

Thompson said his Byron-based company was interested in the project because they have some experience in redeveloping mixed-use spaces. It was a way to provide employment for his workers during the winter, and based on his experience with rental properties in the city, there's a strong demand for apartments designed to appeal to young professionals.

Study after study shows, young professionals want to live in environments where nightlife and shopping are in walking distance and there's a sense of urban life to the neighborhood (related story from USAToday).

This project brings the total of new apartments Downtown to nine, said Julie Pacette, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp. All of the previous apartments rented to young professionals within days of becoming available.

By assisting Thompson and his partners, Pacette said, a property that was off the tax roles for a few years is now in private, property-tax-paying hands.

Thompson said the project has helped him expand his company. His staff of 14 is now a staff of 20, though not all of the new hires are directly related to this project.

Related: For those interested in new urbanism, the Congress for New Urbanism meets in Buffalo, June 4 though 7.

Paul Thompson

July 26, 2013 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Val Zinni and Carmen Del Plato will perform in Jackson Square tonight as part of the Over the Hill Musicians Society show.

Performing as the Hutchins Street Blues Brothers Rhythm and Blue Review, Zinni and Del Plato will reprise a performance they've staged a few times over the years since 1981. That year they entered the talent show -- which was right after "The Blue Brothers" movie came out -- at the St. Anthony's Lawn Fete. 

Del Plato said after winning the talent show, Zinni kissed Monsignor Aquavia "right on top of his bald head," John Belushi-style, Del Plato said.

At first, Zinni and Del Plato performed to recorded music, but a few years ago they started performing with Del Plato's brother's band.

"We'll be performing two songs because the band won't let us do any more than that!" Del Plato said.

Show time is 7 p.m.

Photo by Shelley Zinni.

July 6, 2013 - 12:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Irish folk band Penny Whiskey, always a crowd favorite, opened the Jackson Square concert season Friday with two hours of Celtic rhythms and melodies. The square was pretty jam-packed with local music fans for the show.

Penny Whiskey is: Kirk McWhorter, Jon Carlson (top photo), Dan Lelito, Paul Kneis (second photo).

The Ramble Music and Arts Fest starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

Natalie Muscarella uses mom's camera to get some pictures of the band.

Officers Mark Lawrence and Eric Dibble next to the mural portrait of a Batavia police officer in Jackson Square.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

July 5, 2013 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Penny Whiskey kicks off a new season of concerts in Jackson Square at 7 p.m.

If it's raining at 5 p.m. or looks like rain is coming, the show will be moved to City Centre.

The Batavian is sponsoring tonight's show and I'll be there with freebies (photo prints, T-shirts and gift cards to local businesses) for anybody who signs up for a new membership in The Batavian Club.

Here's a list of shows this season:

It's My Party ('60s Hits) -- July 12
Ghost Riders (Country) -- July 19
OHMS Band (Rock) -- July 26
Bonnie & Collide (R & B) -- Aug. 2
Skiffle Minstrels (Swing & Zydeco...) --  Aug. 9
Kelly's Old Timers (Country) -- Aug. 16
C'est Bon All Girl Cajun Band (Cajun) -- Aug. 23
Mitty & The Followers (MoTown) -- Aug. 30

July 27, 2012 - 11:49am
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Jackson Square, fundraiser, live music, Don Carroll.

T-Shirts, Etc. and the Batavia Business Improvement District (or "the BID") will present "DC in the Square," a benefit for local philanthropist Don Carroll, on Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. It will be downtown at Jackson Square.

Carroll, who is well-known locally for raising thousands of dollars on behalf of underprivileged youth, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in April.

Brian and Beth Kemp of T-Shirts, Etc. have known Carroll for several years and helped him every year with Toys for Kids, an annual toy drive Carroll founded to purchase Christmas presents for children who might not otherwise receive them.

"When I found out about Don's cancer," Beth said, "I went to Brian and suggested we host a benefit. Because he has helped so many people, I thought it would be awesome for the community to be able to give back."

They approached the BID to ask if they could use Jackson Square as the venue. The BID went even further and agreed to sponsor the event.

"DC in the Square" will feature live performances by three bands: "Old Hippies," "Soul Craft" and "Savage Cabbage," plus a Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle.

Items included in the auction and raffle will include all kinds of goodies donated by several local businesses, including:

  • Clothing apparel from Lamb Farms (Oakfield)
  • A goodie basket from Oliver's Candies
  • T-shirts and gift certificates from The Batavian

Coffee Culture Manager Brenda Richardson, who is also helping out with the event, said that M&T Bank has donated money, which they may use for a kids' basket or something similar.

Clor's Meat Market will be providing BBQ dinners for $9. People have their choice of chicken, rib or pulled pork dinners. Each dinner comes with a roll, butter, and two out of the following three sides:

  • Salt potato
  • Coleslaw
  • Macaroni salad

Tickets can be purchased at the Square on July 29 or in advance at the following Batavia locations:

  • T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St.
  • Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road
  • Coffee Culture, 6 Court St.

A minimum $2 donation is asked of everyone at the gate.

Jerry Foster, a former teacher and lifelong friend of Carroll's, provided an update on his condition.

"He's completed his third cycle of chemo," Foster said. "He is starting to be able to swallow a little bit, though not much. ... He will be going back to Strong Memorial Hospital to see if the tumor has shrunk enough that they can operate on it."

For more information about "DC in the Square," contact Brian and Beth Kemp at 345-1993 or email [email protected].

Picture courtesy of Brian and Beth Kemp.

July 21, 2012 - 10:16am

The Ghost Riders played Jackson Square on Friday night -- both bands.

The Ghost Riders country band shared the venue with the Ghost Riders Drum and Bugle Corps, which is also based in Batavia.

If it's ever possible to say Jackson Square is SRO, then last night was one of those nights. The square was nearly wall-to-wall music fans.

June 30, 2012 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square.

People of all ages were entertained in Jackson Square on Friday night as Penny Whiskey kicked off the 2012 season of Concerts in the Square.

The calendar of upcoming shows is posted here.

June 28, 2012 - 6:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) has released its Summer 2012 line-up for the “Friday Night in the Square” Jackson Square concerts. For more than 12 years, the BID has provided free concerts downtown to make our community a fun and active place to play. 

The "Friday Night in the Square" concert series begins June 29 and ends Aug. 31. Time is 7 to 9 p.m. The square is located in the alleyway of Jackson or Center streets. Bring your own seating. Food and refreshments will be available for sale. If it's raining, venue changes to Batavia City Centre, inside the mall.

The following is the concert schedule for “Friday Night in the Square”:

Friday, June 29 --  Penny Whiskey (Celtic/Folk)
Friday, July 6 – Bonnie & Collide ( R & B)
Friday, July 13  -- Skiffle Minstrels (Country/Cajun)
Friday, July 20  – Ghost Riders (Country)
Friday, July 27 -- 78 RPM (Big Band)
Friday, Aug. 3 – Kelly’s Old Timers (Country)
Friday, Aug. 10 – OHMS Band (Rock)
Friday, Aug. 17 – John Cole Blues Band (Blues)
Friday, Aug. 24 --  Jack Civiletto “Sinatra” (Sinatra)
Friday, Aug. 31  – Craig Wilkins (Country)

***Also, the Ramble Music & Art Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, at Jackson Square.

For more information contact the BID office at 585-344-0900 or visit our Web site at Be sure to like us on our Facebook page – Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District -- so that you can keep up with events and updates.

July 22, 2011 - 12:28am
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Jackson Square, music, concerts, Ghost Riders.

It turns out there are two sets of Ghost Riders in town, and both will play at Jackson Square tomorrow night.

Batavia resident Dough Mellenthine, one of the directors of the "other" Ghost Riders, describes it as a miniature drum and bugle corps and a "brass choir." They play everything from patriotic tunes to chorales to "fun-filled, good time music" (as worded in a press release).

Formed in 1996 to compete in the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) "World Championship," which is held every year at various locations throughout the country, the Ghost Riders have distinguished themselves numerous times. They have appeared in championships for 15 consecutive years, won the New York State American Legion Crown, and, last year, won the Silver Medal and position of first runner-up at the DCA World Championship with a score of 98.0.

Mellenthine co-directs Ghost Riders along with Rod Keppel. Music is arranged by "World Drum Corps Hall of Fame" and "Buglers Hall of Fame" member Donny Allen. Group members are professional musicians whose experiences range from education to judging music competitions.

"This is not beer tent stuff," Mellenthine said. "I believe we're Batavia's best-kept secret."

Ghost Riders will perform from 8 until 8:30 p.m. at Jackson Square tomorrow night. Mellenthine said they've been practicing all year for this performance, so it ought to be good!

To learn more about Ghost Riders, visit their Facebook page.

Photo submitted by Doug Mellenthine.

June 24, 2011 - 8:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square.

The summer concert series in Jackson Square, Downtown Batavia, sponsored by the Business Improvement District, kicked off this evening with a show by 78 RPM.

June 19, 2010 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Jackson Square, music, entertainment, polka.


Polka is one of those musical styles that just unavoidably brings a smile to your face. It was an appropriate choice to kick off a fun concert season in Jackson Square on Friday evening. And the Bedrock Boys didn't disppoint.

For more on upcoming shows, check the Jackson Square ad on the right side of the page. The series includes blues, rock, country and jazz and continues through August.

More pictures after the jump:

July 15, 2008 - 6:12pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Jackson Square, live music, Westside Blues Band.

For all of you out there who missed the Westside Blues Band show in Jackson Square Friday, we put together this little video homage. It was a fantastic performance by a talented group of guys. We look forward to checking them out again when they're back in Batavia.

June 30, 2008 - 2:43pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, BID, Jackson Square, music, public market.

Every morning I get online and go mining for news, mostly Batavia news, because thats why I'm here: to inform Batavians. I plug in keywords in search fields. I read through the news briefs at WBTA's timely-kept Web site. I scan the digital newspapers in the area for anything (geographically) of interest to our readers here in Batavia and, more and more, around other parts of Genesee County as well. Nevertheless, some days, no matter how many information wells I plumb, no news comes up.

That being said, Monday's are almost always a guarantee for news. Something had to happen over the weekend. Someone must have done something worthy of that half-inch bold font headline. A party somewhere must have gone wrong, and now someone — or a few someones are cooling it in the clink.

Today, that wasn't the case. We heard from the county sheriff's deputies and the city police, but they were all about alcohol busts over the weekend. Whether that meant selling it to people who shouldn't have it or driving after drinking too much of it, that was all they reported about the weekend — to us, anyway.

So it got me thinking. What makes the news?

Well, without turning this into a debate about how we the media need to focus more on positive, happy, make-you-feel-good news — because there really is plenty of that; it just doesn't make the front pages all the time and more often than not isn't written well so isn't worth reading — the news I find in my morning searches will fall pretty cleanly into one of a few categories: bad news (car crashes, crime, high profile death), news released by Genesee Community College, finance or sports. But there wasn't much of any of it this morning.

So when Batavia's downtown business director Don Burkel walked into Main Street Coffee this morning and asked me what the scoop was, I told him: no scoop. I told him I searched and searched and couldn't come up with anything. What happened over the weekend, I asked him. Didn't stuff happen? Wasn't there news?

For sure, he said. Good news.

Batavia's Public Market opened for the season Saturday morning. Despite the weather threats of hail storms and the like, the market was a raving success. Folks came out to buy from vendors who were eager to sell their wares. And I can understand his elation. Public markets make me feel the same way, and it isn't even my job to get excited about downtown business. Public markets have seen a real resurgence in the past decade or so. For good reason. They're an intersection of culture and finance that harken back to the Greek agora, the public gathering place where everything happened. Whenever I get the chance to visit the market in Rochester, I get giddy. They've got good cheap eats. Fresh produce. You can typically hear at least three languages spoken. And somehow the otherwise avaricious act of purchasing for a small moment in time turns cultural. Unlike, say, big box retail shops, that mostly smell of plastic and make me feel more neurotic than usual and sometimes even hostile towards my people.

So there was that. But also...

Jackson Square hosted its second Friday night concert of the season. The Ghostriders played, the square filled, people danced. And the whole evening seemed a foreshadowing of the weekend to come — Ramble Music and Arts Fest.

Downtown was good cheer, straight up and down, this weekend. And Don told me all about it with a beaming smile. Because it really was a good weekend for Batavia. And that was the news. Summer arrived, and Batavians got out and took advantage. They stayed close to home, and close to home proved worthy of sticking around for.

All this to say, sometimes good news is exactly that and deserves its place in the cycle of crime, death, finance, sports. Not that all good news is real news. I bought a pair of sneakers recently, and they're comfortable, and that's good news for me. But I doubt anyone else would care, and they shouldn't.

There are so many ways a community gets out and acts like one, and when it does it so blatantly and in a way that blots out the bad that gets the front page most every other day, it's worthy of shining a light on.

So, if you've got a keyboard and an Internet connection, and you know that your town, village, city, neighborhood, hamlet got out and manufactured some good news that just doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves — blog about it. Write a post. Write it in a way that you think is interesting. Put yourself in the story. We're not journalism teachers. We won't call you out for that. Just tell the story. Because sometimes the news cycle lets us down, and we could all do with a good story told well of folks doing good things.

June 20, 2008 - 12:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Jackson Square, music, Jack Civiletto.

Batavia's "Friday Night in the Square" summer concert series in Jackson Square kicks off tonight with everybody's favorite crooner, Jack Civiletto. Civiletto "Sings Sinatra" starts tonight at 7:00pm. For a taste of what to expect, here's a snippet of Civiletto singing "That's Life," by Frank Sinatra. (The video is from Civiletto's MySpace Video Channel.)


May 1, 2008 - 8:52am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, BID, Jackson Square, music.

Jackson Square Concert Series 2008 — Downtown Batavia:

• Friday, June 20th (7-9 p.m.) Civilletto Sings Sinatra

• Friday, June 27th  (7-9 p.m.) Ghost Riders (Country)

• Friday, July 4th, (7-9 p.m.)  Pre-Ramble Concert (Ghost Riders, Sierra & Friends)

• Saturday, July 5  (11a.m. - 9 p.m.)  Ramble Music & Art Fest (Variety)

• Friday, July 11th  (7-9 p.m.) Westside Blues Band (Blues)

• Friday, July 18th  (7-9 p.m.)  Joe Beard & The Blues Union (Blues)

• Friday, July 25th (7-9 p.m.) OHMS Band (Rock)

• Friday, August 1st (7-9 p.m.)  Penny Whiskey (Celtic/folk)

• Friday, August 8th (7-9 p.m.) Julie Dunlap (Country)

• Friday, August 22nd (7-9 p.m.) Bart & Kevin (Family)

• Friday, August 29th (7-9 p.m.)  Craig Wilkins (Johnny Cash Tribute)

Major sponsors of the "Friday Night in the Square" summer music series are: M&T Bank, the Batavia Buisness Improvement District and GoArt!

The series is hosted by the Batavia Business Improvement District. Call (585) 344-0900 for more information.

"We assist new and existing businesses, locate space and provide economic incentives for businesses to locate in downtown Batavia," says Don Burkel, president of the BID. "We also host: the Downtown Public Market, Summer in the City Festival and Christmas in the City Festival."



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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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