It was a busy beginning to the holiday weekend in downtown Rockford starting with the first ever Shop the Blocks.
The event kicked off Friday afternoon along State Street just east of the river. Businesses brought out some of their goods to the sidewalk. Along first street parking spaces were converted into parklets, areas where people could sit and relax or play games.
Business owners say Shop the Blocks brought in higher than usual foot traffic.
"I can not believe how many people are walking up the sidewalk from the City Market up towards First and State. It's hard to get through that crowd it's very crowded and I love it. I'd like to see it weekly, just another great event for downtown Rockford," said Sonya Dowdakin, owner of Salvaged by Sonya.
That wasn't the only downtown event attracting lots of foot traffic. Rockford City Market was bustling just down the road from Shop the Blocks. It ran later than usual, until 10 p.m. and organizers say it looks like it was a big one.
"The number is up big time. I think we're going to have a record crowd again this week. At this gate we've got about 1,900 so far. So we're talking close to 8,000 right now," said Craig Sand, volunteer at Rockford City Market.
The city plans on hosting two other Shop the Blocks, one in August the other in September.