Summer in downtown Klamath Falls officially kicks off with the first Third Thursday event next week.
The theme for the first Third Thursday of the summer is "Healthy Klamath." It celebrates the variety of health initiatives and organizations in the Basin, including the Sky Lakes Wellness Center, which opened downtown earlier this year.
"It seemed like a really great time to raise awareness about health and downtown," said Wellness Center program director Katherine Pope.
Pope and fellow Klamath Falls Downtown Association members Susan Beach and Daniel Hernandez have been working to plan fun and healthy activities for the event.
Health-related activities will be concentrated on Main Street between Seventh and Eighth streets downtown, which will be "crammed full of all kinds of healthy things," Beach said.
"We're really excited about this one," Beach said. "It's going to be fun."
Some of those healthy activities include two bikes from the Oregon State University Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center that can be used to grind grain or make smoothies, healthy food tastings, yoga demonstrations, a "pop-up" protected bike lane and more.
Booths on that block include Klamath Open Door, Klamath Tribal Health and Wellness, CARES and Relay for Life, Steen Sports Park, Friends of Ella Redkey Pool, Lost Cascades Bike Club and the Klamath Trails Alliance, KBREC, Master Gardeners, Linkville Lopers, Bike to Work or School, Cascade Health Alliance, Klamath County Public Health, the Klamath Basin Senior Center, Kiwanis, the Department of Human Services, and more.
There is something for every age group, Pope said.
The yoga demonstrations will take place in a parking space-sized "parklet" outside Old Town Pizza Company, Pope said. MCs on Main also has a "parklet," or mini park, set up with planter, a small deck, and outdoor tables, in a parking space outside the restaurant.
As part of the healthy theme, the city will be putting up "pop-up" protected, or buffered, bike lanes to demonstrate what the lanes could look like if added to local streets, said councilman Matt Dodson.
The temporary bike lanes will be set up on Seventh Street using planters built by Oregon Health and Sciences University nursing students and students from Integral Youth Services, Dodson said. There may also be example protected bike lanes created using traffic barriers provided by the city, he added.
"The goal was to propose a couple different options for what they could look like," Dodson said.
By putting up the temporary bike lanes, Dodson hopes to raise awareness about the proposed project, answer questions and build enthusiasm.
Dodson is working with the Sky Lakes Wellness Center team and Oregon Institute of Technology students on a proposed protected bike lane stretching from Moore Park to downtown.
"The goal is really education," he said, adding that Third Thursday attendees can bring their bikes to "get a feel for" the bike lanes.
Third Thursday events regularly attract a crowd of 3,500 to 5,000 people to the downtown area, Beach said.
This summer, the events will be smoke-free and dog-free to be more welcoming to everyone, Beach explained. Downtown businesses benefit from the high level of foot traffic, Beach said. Restaurants do particularly well during the events, and that trickles down to other businesses as well. The exposure that Third Thursday brings is great, said Beach, who owns Beach's Jewelers.
"I think any activity in an area is helpful to business," she said.
Other features of this first Third Thursday include bounce houses, food choices from several local food trucks, human foosball, pony rides, face painting and more, Beach said.
The Klamath County Library will also be signing children up for its summer reading program.
Beach recommends wearing a pair of comfortable shoes and walking the "full gamut" of Third Thursday to embrace the healthy theme and enjoy all the booths, vendors, businesses, and entertainment.
Later this summer, Third Thursday themes will be focused on country and baseball.
For more information, visit the Klamath Falls Downtown Association website.
If you go: The event is from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, June 18. Admission is free to this downtown Klamath Falls event.