After decades of being a pedestrian mall, the reopening of Fulton Street in 2017 held promise for a central vein running through a vibrant and revitalized downtown.
The Fulton Street Party was designed as proof of that concept.
The original celebration in 2017, which coincided with the street’s reopening, featured more than a dozen “pop-up” stores and restaurants taking over storefronts on Fulton. There was also a classic car show and street cruise/parade and three stages of live music.
“The idea is to stage downtown so when people see it, they’ll say, ‘Oh, now I see what they’re trying to do,’“ the interim CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, Craig Scharton, said at the time.
This year’s party, which runs 4-11 p.m. Saturday, celebrates the now, highlighting the organizations and businesses that continue to push that revitalization forward.
“Remember, this event isn’t just happening downtown,” press for the event announces.
“It’s an invitation to discover downtown.”
Even as a pedestrian mall, Fulton Street was a magnet for live music, hosting a number of music venues (the original Club Fulton and the Patterson Hall, Star Palace, Frank’s Place, Peeve’s Public House and later Tioga-Sequoia) as well as large-scale community events.
For years, there were annual Mexican Independence Day celebrations at Mariposa Plaza. The street hosted three years of the Catacomb Party music festival and was a major thoroughfare for the Fresno Urban Sound Experience (F.U.S.E. Fest).
More recently, the southern end of Fulton Street has become home to the FresYes Fest.
Fulton Steet Party bands: Where and when
So, the Fulton Street Party is heavy on live music. It looks to rank just below Tower Porchfest in terms of participating bands/musicians.
More than 50 bands are slated to play at one of 13 indoor and outdoor venues along Fulton, from Mono to Merced streets.
The full lineup and schedule is available online for easy planning, but a quick rundown includes:
Mariposa Plaza, which will feature main-stage performances from Fashawn and The Morning Drive, along with Nate, Sahab, Danza Azteca Xipe Totec, Teocalli Cultural Academy, Belmont Sound System, Jacq Maliq, Carl Armada and the Homies and Zee Will.
The Sun Stereo Warehouse has a lineup curated by the folks behind Tower Porchfest. It features Jonathan Lofi, Ken Pipkin, Matthew Embry, ShapHill Jazz, Subale and John Clifton.
The restaurant Los Panchos has a lineup with Bigfoot and the Moon, Soulito, Starline Arcade, Macondo and Brian Cade.
The Fulton (old La Masion Kebab) is running a two-stage mini-festival of local punk rock and metal. There are indoor and outside stages with two headliners (Differences and Shawshank) and a dozen openers (Hour 13, Scoundrel, Beyond California, True Bearing, The Uncorrupted, Dear Distance, Out of the Ring, Slip Lip, Narylhead, End of Season, Dave Hate Machine, Perception and Rotten Apple).
Full Cirlce Brewing Company has a lineup of local favorites that includes, among others Aire Espacial, Sci Fi Caper, Who is Gene and the Sleepover Disaster.
Cannabis, comedy and a fashion show
Of course, this is officially a street party (not a music festival) so expect vendors, food tucks and several beer gardens.
There will also be the Styled By Fulton fashion show and competition (curated by FTK Construction), a classic car show (in the lot across from Tioga-Sequoia’s Beer Garden) and a comedy show (hosted by Mike Wooten and featuring five comics).
The Artist Tree cannabis dispensary will take over a half-block of Fulton and Mariposa Street for an outdoor vendor village, with games, giveaways and pop ups with cannabis brands like RNBW, Traditional, WYLD and Pamos.
The pre-party happens at Chukchansi Park, where the Fresno Grizzles host a home game. They will be playing as the Lowriders de Fresno.
Where to find parking
Those driving into the event should note that street parking is available in and around Fulton Street, but it will likely be metered and charging event prices.
Several city parking garages and lots will also be open, including the old CVS lot (at Futlon and Tuolumne), the Spiral Garage (at Van Ness and Inyo) or the Merchant lot (at Broadway and Mariposa streets).