By Mary Therese Biebel, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Whether you’re a youngster in search of Easter Eggs, a Francophile in search of French food , a St. Patrick’s Day reveler seeking a family-friendly parade or a jazz fan who would appreciate a musical tribute to the Greatest Generation, downtown Wilkes-Barre has something for you.
Those are just a few of the topics that came up Friday morning when members of the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association gathered at the Wyoming Valley Art League’s Circle Centre for the Arts, for their monthly meeting.
“Today is the first day of meteorological spring,” association president John Maday said, noting several upcoming events will be a celebration of warmer weather, among them the April 13 egg hunt, which will include 1,000 more eggs than last year, for a total of 6,000.
“We were running out of eggs last year,” he said, adding the hunt coincides with “Bunny Trail” activities that invite families to linger and visit downtown businesses.
“People stay downtown,” he said. “We see them hours later, walking around with children whose faces are painted or they’re wearing bunny ears.”
Another reason to celebrate the downtown, director of the Diamond City Partnership Larry Newman said, is Friday’s re-opening, under new ownership, of Le Manhattan Bistro, where diners will find French as well as American-style food.
“I want to again congratulate Rob Friedman and his team for making this investment,” Newman said. “He’s a seasoned restaurateur but until today, not in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
“It’s a real vote of confidence in everything we’ve been doing.”
Downtown activities that are coming up include the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which steps off at 2 p.m. March 10 and proceeds along South Main Street to Public Square, and a miniature-golf event that will allow guests to play 18 holes inside the Osterhout Free Library from noon to 4 p.m. March 24.
Participants will aim at the holes in book ends that have been turned on their side, library executive director Chris Kelly said, and anyone who gets a hole-in-one in the children’s section will be entered in a raffle for a $500 prize.
Anne Rodella, director of sales and marketing at the F.M. Kirby Center, told the group she expects a March 15 concert by the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors to be popular. The free performance will be a tribute to the Greatest Generation, and people can come to the box office to pick up tickets.
The Kirby Center is also announcing a July 17 concert by acoustic guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and a May 8 Rocktopia performance that blends rock, Broadway and opera music.
Representing the Luzerne County Historical Society, Mark Riccetti said a March 23 presentation will describe the history of public transportation in the region and outline plans for the restoration of the last surviving Wilkes-Barre trolley car.
Don Armstrong from the Wyoming Valley Art League reminded members the Third Friday Art Walks will resume in April after the winter break, and much of the activity will center in the second block of South Main Street, very close to the Circle Centre for the Arts.
“The Sordoni Art Gallery is just a stone’s throw away, and the Marquis Art & Frame is right across the street,” he said.