It seldom rains on Ladies Night Out but on Thursday, Aug. 22, vendors and visitors had to seek shelter during a brief heavy rainfall around 3:30 p.m.
Then the skies cleared until later in the evening and the ladies and more than a few men came out to enjoy the twenty-second annual celebration of "Ladies Night Out" and "Queen for a Day."
Twenty-two years ago Warwick businesswoman Colleen Brennan came up with the idea, which began with only a few stores and then, under the direction of the Merchant Guild, evolved into a traditional and much larger annual event.
As they strolled along the streets of downtown Warwick, local residents as well as out-of-town visitors enjoyed visiting shops, vendors and restaurants, watching demonstrations, listening to continuous musical entertainment throughout the village and on Railroad Green or just relaxing at one of the restaurants.
And many of the stores also offered refreshments and special treats free of charge to all.
Sidewalk vendors this year included non-profit organizations along with those offering products and services involving women's health, fitness, beauty and fashion.
And for the ninth consecutive year, Ladies Night Out also benefited Safe Homes of Orange County, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate all forms of domestic violence through education, outreach and providing services to individuals and families affected by domestic abuse.
Although the bad weather returned later in the evening it didn't dampen the spirits of those who had fun dancing in the rain on the Railroad Green, visiting shops and relaxing in local eateries.
The highlight of the evening occurred when, after Mayor Michael Newhard's introduction, Merchant Guild President and Event Chair Corrine Iurato placed a special crown on Elizabeth Knight, who had been chosen as this year's "Queen for a Day."
From an economic perspective, this year's Ladies Night Out, although lighter in turnout, again produced a boost in sales for the downtown merchants. And Warwick restaurants, both in and outside of the village, were well attended. The annual event attracts visitors from throughout the Metropolitan area and beyond.
- Roger Gavan