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'Big ideas' for York: Comedy club, silent discos, more

Ahead of Big Idea Saturday, we asked locals to share their "big ideas" for the future of York. Here's what they said.

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Downtown York is full of big ideas just waiting to be shared.

And with a little help from the community, those ideas can become a reality.

That's the concept behind Big Idea Saturday, a community-wide brainstorming session that gives the public a chance to become part of the discussion about positive change and innovation in York.

Community projects like the Global Cardboard Challenge, Colonial Days and the York365 online calendar for local arts, entertainment and cultural events all started out as ideas that were later brought to life after last year’s event, organizer Kelley Gibson said.

This year, locals will again have a chance to share their ideas when Big Idea Saturday returns downtown June 25.

Organized by the Cultural Alliance of York County in partnership with York College, Big Idea Saturday will bring together some of the region’s creative thinkers, change-makers and entrepreneurs to foster new community ideas through labs, workshops and events throughout the day, Gibson said.

Want to share your big idea? Come to the “What’s YOUR Big Idea for York” session, moderated by Scott Fisher and Mark Walters of the York Daily Record, at 1 p.m. at Creative York, 10 N. Beaver St. For a full schedule of Big Idea Saturday events, click here.

In the meantime, we asked some locals who are involved in the downtown community to share their “big ideas” for York’s entertainment scene. Here’s what they said.

Meagan Feeser (Marketing Director, Downtown Inc.)

Feeser, who works with the York City Independent Restaurant Association on events like Restaurant Week York and York City Burger Week, said she wants to bring more food-related special events and food-focused weeks downtown.

“We’re also working on branding the North George Street corridor as our Downtown Restaurant Row to really shine a spotlight on the downtown dining scene,” she said.

Todd Fogdall (President and CEO, Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center)

“The Strand-Capitol is working on a Comedy Club concept for The Capitol Theatre to launch this fall," Fogdall said. "The club would feature two national comics nightly who have played Comedy Central, ‘Last Comic Standing,’ ‘The Tonight Show’ and more.”

Justin Ayala (visual artist, Aortic Valve)

Ayala, a member of the audio-visual mixing duo Aortic Valve, said he’d like to bring a series of audio-video silent discos to downtown York. The idea grew out of the desire to host music events in untraditional locations that have noise restrictions or can’t accommodate loud music, he said. Instead of listening through loud bass speakers, attendees enjoy the music through wireless headphones.

“York has never seen or heard anything quite like a silent disco,” Ayala said. “With an abundance of historic and unique locations, Aortic Valve feels that York would be the perfect place to hold such an event.”

Paula Gilbert (Director of Youth Services, York County Library System)

York County Libraries and Martin Library has noticed the need for children to have opportunities to express themselves, Gilbert said. So, the library came up with the idea to organize a free dance camp for grades four through six this summer from June 28 through July 29.

“York’s youth need positive outlets for building their creativity and the library wants to be part of the growth opportunity,” she said.

The camp will run from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at Martin Library. The library will also work with the York City School District to provide dance education during their four-week summer program at Hannah Penn in July.

Peter Danko (artist/designer, Peter Danko Designs)

Danko’s “big idea” is to bring a Monumental Sculpture Competition to York that would invite artists to create large-scale temporary sculptures using scraps and discarded materials from local manufacturers. Visitors could then view the recycled sculptures on display at a sculpture trail downtown that would give new life to downtown areas that are under re-development.

“I think it could be fun and attract attention to the city,” he said.

Cal Weary (CEO, Weary Arts Group)

Weary wants to bring a week-long series of master classes to downtown York, where performing artists (dancers, actors, spoken word artists etc.) can train from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for five days. At the end of the week, participating artists can perform what they've worked on at local bars, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues in the city. This would help York become a destination for the arts rather than a location people pass through to get to Philly or New York, he said.

If you go

What: Big Idea Saturday

When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25

Where: Participating locations in downtown York

Cost: Free, but registration is required

More information: To see a full schedule and register for sessions, visit