Holyokers bask in the sun during the first Monday at Armour Yard of 2024.
Reminder Publishing photo by Trent Levakis

HOLYOKE — Monday’s can take a certain toll on us all as we adjust back to the work week but thankfully with options in the city like Mondays at Armour Yard, Holyokers every week this summer will once again have the community space available.

Armour Yard, a nonprofit organization, offers an outdoor space next to the Cubit Building that serves as a beer garden Monday nights during the summer where food trucks and adult beverages are served in the family-friendly space.

The first Mondays at Armour Yard in 2024 was on June 3, where from the start dozens of people gathered in the family friendly environment for drinks and food. It set the tone for what is expected to be another great year for the space, according to Cubit Building Owner and co-creator of the event Denis Luzuriaga.

Created in 2021 along with Mike Pratt of Holyoke Craft Beer, the event was born in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two came together and figured they would utilize the “yard” next to the Cubit building and what was supposed to be an event out of necessity for the circumstances has become a relevant and popular gathering space going into its third summer.

“We didn’t think it would go beyond 2021 just because we thought people just wanted to get together and were desperate to socialize,” Luzuriaga said.

Luzuriaga added the creation of Mondays at Armour Yard became a multipurpose effort as not only was it a gathering space in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but it also became a way to get people downtown and more specifically on Race Street.

Each Monday this summer until Sept. 30, 164 Race St. will be the location for those looking to unwind after the first day of the work week and enjoy a drink and some food in the summer sun. The space is family friendly, and dogs are allowed. Each Monday the event is from 5-8 p.m.

Luzuriaga said the consistent and growing turnout from when Mondays at Armour Yard started compared to present day has been surprising to him but he has enjoyed seeing the space become such a popular community gathering spot.”

He added he is trying to shift operations away from him and toward the city and Chamber of Commerce for the space as it became clear that the event had caught on in the community.

Office of Planning and Economic Development Director Aaron Vega said the city has a demand for downtown activities and spaces to gather like Mondays at Armour Yard. He added the event has served as a prime example of ways the city can activate vacant spaces like the yard and the benefits that follow from it.

“As you look at what other communities have done around activated vacant spaces, this is really in line with that. Bringing in food, adult beverages, sometimes entertainment. Just gathering people together,” Vega said. “From the development point of view and economic development point of view, it also creates these spaces where typically people see them as empty or vacant and nothing’s going on, suddenly has life. And developers only want to invest in places that have life, that have things going on. So when they see a community coming together around a location, they’ll think maybe it makes more sense to develop here, maybe it makes sense to invest in this area.”

Luzuriaga shared similar sentiments as Vega on the plus of activating the vacant space. He added he hopes for another great summer for the community at the yard.

“In my mind, it was also really just an experiment to see how viable is downtown Holyoke for this kind of event. I think it is viable. You just create the right environment and the right product, eventually people will come,” Luzuriaga said.