Night 2 of entertainment district brings larger crowds, funds - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Night 2 of entertainment district brings larger crowds, funds

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The entertainment district has started its 90-day pilot program. The entertainment district has started its 90-day pilot program.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Night two of Huntsville's new arts and entertainment district brought hopes for even larger crowds than the first, not to mention money for local businesses.

Thousands of people came out for Thursday night's launch. Businesses reported record nights, some even saying occupancy and financial returns were the highest in months, possibly ever.

Every Thursday and Friday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., people are now allowed to walk around: down sidewalks, even from bar to bar, with alcohol in two different entertainment districts.

Huntsville restaurants and vendors must sign up with the city to become part of the official district, but Mayor Tommy Battle said the process is free and fairly simply. When asked if the hours or days of operation might change, he said that is always a possibility.

Mayor Battle was asked what he thought really brought in the crowds: the entertainment or the booze?

"The open container aspect was a minor part of it," Battle said. "I think it was more the entertainment and seeing the arts being performed down there. Very few people had those open containers down there."

City leaders said that after the initial 90 days of this pilot program have elapsed, they will discuss what, if anything, needs to change, and if the program will turn into a staple of Huntsville city life, or just a short-term solution.

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