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Businesses Band Together For Downtown Festivities
Riv wine stroll
A group of young friends come together to serenade visitors to the downtown Riverbank Sip ‘n Stroll on Saturday evening, Sept. 14. They played guitars, ukuleles, and sang on the sidewalk. It was the third annual edition of the event, which has grown each year, both in attendance and in participation by downtown businesses. Ric McGinnis/The News

As the sun set on Riverbank on Saturday, downtown businesses joined together on Santa Fe Street for a gathering that included local craftsmen and non-profit organizations. It was designed as an evening dedicated to enhancing the public’s awareness of the historic business district in the City of Action.

The Saturday, Sept. 14 Sip ‘n Stroll event was an evening of snacks, wine tasting and entertainment, which also featured conversation with local business owners who were able to chat with visitors.

The stroll was sponsored by the Downtown Riverbank Business Coalition, for the third year, and organizers said it has grown each time. They said they were happy with the turnout for this year’s event as well.

The Sip ‘n Stroll began at 4:30 p.m. and concluded at 9 p.m., occupying Santa Fe Street, between Third and Fourth. Despite the warm day, a steady flow of visitors toured the district.

In addition to businesses located on that block, others from the downtown district put up booths to inform patrons of their wares and services. Some on the block set up tables on the sidewalk, others invited patrons inside the businesses.

Visitors to the event came from Oakdale, Modesto and other areas around Riverbank, some for the first time. Others, coming from town itself, said they had never been in the downtown district and were surprised to see what was available there.

Although some storefronts remain empty in downtown, others are recently opened or preparing to do so. A shop called Coffee Bruin is coming, right next to one called Get Toasted, which will feature brunch and mimosas. It’s coming into the location that was formerly occupied by Pizza Plus, which is now open across the street.