Amid growing crowds, Truckee Thursdays kicking off 9th year | SierraSun.com

Amid growing crowds, Truckee Thursdays kicking off 9th year

TRUCKEE, Calif. — In the summer of 2008, the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association launched a community event called Truckee Thursdays, a weekly gathering for residents and visitors to get a taste of local shops, food, art, live music and more in the heart of downtown.

Attendance was respectable from the start, with a couple hundred locals and visitors converging to downtown Truckee each Thursday over 10 weeks.

Eight years later, with upwards of 4,000 people projected to head downtown every Thursday this summer, it's arguably grown into Truckee's signature summer event.

The 2016 Truckee Thursdays kick off Thursday, June 9, at 5 p.m. in downtown Truckee.

The event includes live music, beer garden, food court, street fair and kids activities — everything from bounce houses to face painting to an airplane simulator, which will be provided by the Truckee Tahoe Airport every other week.

"We're excited to start a new season," said Chelsea Walterscheid, Truckee Thursdays event manager. "We have great bands lined up, you're going to see artisan vendors that you haven't seen yet … we're excited to get the community back together and celebrate the summer.

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"It's a time when you can come downtown, bring your kids, and see all the people you know in town in a high-energy atmosphere and in a beautiful setting. Whether you go to one or a few or every single week, it's a fun event for everybody to enjoy seeing everybody and running into people. It really celebrates community."

PARKING CHALLENGES

With the number of people who join the celebration likely to increase this summer, Truckee Thursdays is implementing a new free shuttle service — sponsored by the town of Truckee and Northstar California — to help ease parking congestion.

Beginning Thursday and running through the Aug. 18 event, shuttles will travel to and from downtown Truckee between from 4:30-9:30 p.m. to the following destinations: Donner Lake, Squaw Valley, Sierra Meadows, Brockway, Northstar, Prosser and Glenshire.

Additionally, the shuttle will run to and from a pair of park-and-ride lots at Truckee High School and the Rodeo grounds. (Notably, the rodeo lot won't be available on Aug. 11).

The Tahoe Donner Association will also provide a free shuttle service to and from Tahoe Donner.

"This is a really big effort to bring people into and back home from the event," Walterscheid said of the new shuttle program. "With construction downtown, parking is a premium. Having a shuttle available to bring all interested participants into the event is going to help alleviate vehicular congestion inside the downtown corridor."

While the shuttle service is free, monetary donations will be accepted, Walterscheid added.

The cost of the shuttle service program is $45,000, with Northstar providing an in-kind contribution of $4,000 and the remaining $41,000 provided by the town of Truckee through its Economic Development Support program, said Alex Terrazas, assistant town manager.

"We think parking is going to be a huge challenge so we're trying to be proactive before we have those problems," Terrazas said.

Benefiting businesses

Along with providing a platform for the community to gather and socialize, Truckee Thursdays also bolsters the downtown businesses.

"Any time that you can capitalize on getting just a handful of the 3-4,000 people (who go to Truckee Thursdays) at your front door, that's a huge benefit," said Julie Huck, owner of Gratitudes Gifts & Home Décor and member of the Truckee Thursdays committee. "It brings people from all over the region and second homeowners into our downtown core to look around and see what's new for the season. I think it's a humongous benefit for our downtown merchant association and also all of us as merchants."

For Heather River, owner of Bespoke in downtown Truckee, the annual summer event is a weekly highlight.

"Truckee Thursdays is such an important and fun part of our summer in Truckee," River said. "It is one of our busiest and most fun days of the week. And serves as a wonderful way to meet and connect with our local community. We love it."

Music lineup

Below is the upcoming main stage music lineup for this year’s Truckee Thursdays:

June 9: The Deadlies

June 16: Sweetwater String Band

June 23: Jo Mama

June 30: Andy Frasco

July 7: Laney Jones

July 14: Decoy Band

July 21: McKenna Faith

July 28: The J Band

Aug. 4: The Novelists

Aug. 11: Bazooka Zoo

Aug. 18: Jo Mama & Naan Stop

Visit truckeethursdays.com to learn more about Truckee Thursdays.