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Gillian Sewake enjoys a moment of satisfaction between tasks, at the July Final Friday. Photo by Marcy Patridge.

Showcasing the arts through Gallery Strolls and crowd-sourced creative projects has been part of the collaborative creative sector’s approach …

For three “Final Fridays,” the last Friday of each summer month, St. Johnsbury’s downtown in 2022 became a street festival and an entertainment and shopping destination. Between those dates, food trucks “popped up” at the trailhead pavilion on Bay Street. Pandemic-inspired expansions of restaurants onto the sidewalks added a festive air. And the transformation of the ground floor of the New Avenue House into stylish shop spaces now emphasizes: St. Johnsbury has been reborn.

A tremor of excitement and eagerness engages the surrounding businesses. And Gillian Sewake, director of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, welcomes this season as a reward for years of effort, calling especially for young people to embrace the town and its creative development.

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The Tango North Group provided a tango demo in the midst of July’s Final Friday street festival. Photo courtesy of Harrison Creative, Peacham.

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At the July “Final Friday,” folk musicians Adam Ezra Group draw a crowd. Photo courtesy of Harrison Creative, Peacham.

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Producing Final Fridays, pop-up events, and concerts at Dog Mountain means teamwork. Molly Stone, Andrea Otto, and Gillian Sewake take a moment at Catamount Arts to appreciate how the creative sector energized St. Johnsbury this year. Photo by Beth Kanell.

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The Railroad Street “action” in 1947 included Bingo, as well as Saturday shopping nights, which changed to Fridays after 1951. Photo courtesy of Andy Dussault.

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Vintage postcard of St. Johnsbury’s Railroad Street in the 1950s. Photo by Don Sieburg, from the Kanell Collection.

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The Concord Candy Kitchen did plenty of business during Railroad Street shopping evenings in the 1950s and 1960s. Photo courtesy of Gertrude Dussault.

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Jody Fried, executive director of Catamount Arts, shared the exhilaration at St. Johnsbury’s July Final Friday festival. Photo by Harrison Creative, Peacham.