The scene: summer of 1987, 5:05pm, Downtown Boise. Imagine tumbleweeds blowing down Main Street. People scurrying from office building to car and then driving- quickly- to the East or West. Sounds pretty dismal, huh! Sadly this was the reality- not much happened here after the banks and offices closed.
However, a few people thought differently, and dreamed up a crazy scheme to challenge the notion that life in the business center of the Capital City stopped at 5. The idea was simple- pump up the live music, cold drinks, and good food, and see what happens. They hoped for a few people who might be interested in having fun…
And they came! They enjoyed draft beer, soda, and food from local restaurants… and tapped a toe or two to live music!
25 years later, the once-crazy dream has become a fixture in our community- one of the premier FREE events happening each week from June through September. Each summer more than 50,000 people flock to the Grove Plaza each Wednesday to frolic in the fountain, catch up with friends over a cool drink, or shake their groove thang… after 5pm!
And legends have been made- Tai Chi Grandma, Yoga Guy, Rod Stewart, and Dancin’ Hippie, to name a few. Boiseans have voted Alive After Five the best place to “See and Be Seen” and the showcase event to bring out-of-towners.
I am proud to be part of the team that makes it happen each week, and excited that the event gives back to the community. We work with Go Listen Boise to bring local bands to the stage each week, and for the third year in a row, we’ve partnered with local nonprofits who pour beer in exchange for tips. Groups like the American Cancer Society, Boise Fire Dept. Burnout Fund, Women’s and Children’s Alliance and more have benefited to the tune of more than $3,000 each!
This summer boasts a great lineup of acts, culminating with the season finale party on September 28th with music by local band Low-Fi and nationally-known singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. You don’t want to miss this- there’s a cold beer waiting for you each week until then.
Submitted by: Morgan Cole, member services coordinator & beer booth hustler, Downtown Boise Association
Photos by: Keri Anderson