Coolest northforker stories of 2016: Alive on 25 comes to Riverhead

A scene from the first Alive on 25 in Riverhead in July. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

A scene from the first Alive on 25 in Riverhead in July. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

On four Thursdays during July and August, downtown Riverhead was as busy as it has been at any time in recent memory.

Thousands of visitors headed to Alive on 25, which was modeled after the popular Alive After Five street fair series in Patchogue. The Riverhead event, headed by the Riverhead Business Improvement District, featured food trucks and outdoor seating at local restaurants, beer gardens, live music on six stages, artisan vendors and family fun along Main Street between Griffing and Maple avenues.

The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association estimated that more than 5,000 people attended the first of the four-hour street fairs.

“I couldn’t tell if I was in Riverhead or Patchogue around 7 p.m.,” said PeraBell Food Bar East co-owner John Peragine on the evening of the first event.

In a strong display of cross-promotion, one of the dates was held in conjunction with East End Arts’ JumpstART event. And in an effort to create synergy with Alive After Five, the Riverhead and Patchogue events were held on alternating Thursdays.

A state grant was used to help promote the four dates in Riverhead, attracting weeknight visitors from out of town. Plenty of recognizable faces from across the North Fork also came out to celebrate.

Alive on 25 ended up turning a nearly $15,000 profit and plans are already in the works to hold the event again in 2017.