Downtown Fresno beach party helps businesses

FRESNO, Calif.

The splash beach party started Friday night. Van Ness between Fresno and Tulare will remain closed until 5 p.m. Monday morning. This is a unique idea, and while some say it's great, there are still a few problem areas.

From palm trees, to beach volleyball, you would never know it was Downtown Fresno.

For the second day in a row, Van Ness between Fresno and Tulare remained closed for Club One'S Splash Beach Party, complete with a million pounds of sand, cabanas, and a giant waterslide.

"I think it's beautiful. I think Downtown Fresno needs to do something like this more often," Rob Ermilio said.

"I've already been in the pool, a couple pools to have some fun, actually. Good band, good band. We'll be out here all night probably," Steve Vasquez said.

Club One spokesperson Kyle Kirkland says this first time event is an experiment to see what it takes to get people to come downtown. "You know, for us we're in the casino business, kinda an escapeism and so we kinda give people a way to escape Fresno for a little bit."

So far, the plan seems to be working. Friday night, an estimated 1,500 people paid $10 a piece to attend the party.

Action News spoke to employees at one local clothing boutique who say sales over the past 24 hours have gone up.

"They notice our business, so a lot of people have come in, they bring their friends, a lot of people have noticed we're actually here," Paola Bermudez said.

But, organizers say they still have kinks to work out in hopes of planning a similar event next year. Closing down Van Ness has been inconvenient for some people and nearby businesses. And crews had difficulty setting up such an elaborate display.

"Yeah, we're definitely trying to see how it goes." Kirkland said. "First year is the toughest. We'll work out the kinks and we'll do it again next year."

The event will be open all night until 2 a.m. and then reopen again Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Admission is $10 and after 7 p.m., people 21 and older will only be allowed in.

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